McLaughlin takes Wood Award gold

Niall McLaughlin might have been pipped to the post for the 2013 Stirling Prize by Witherford Watson Mann, but his Bishop Edward King Chapel outside Oxford was declared a very worthy recipient of both the Gold Award and Structural prize at the 2013 Wood Awards, announced Tuesday evening by RIBAJ editor Hugh Pearman at Carpenter’s Hall in the City of London.

Of the chapel’s soaring and elegant elliptical timber structure, the client, Ripon College, stated it was ‘like being bathed in numinous buttermilk,’ and the judges responded with similar enthusiasm to its ethereal nature, declaring it the winner unanimously.

Winner in the commercial and public access category was Tim Ronalds Architects’ Colyer-Fergusson Concert Hall for the University of Kent - a minimalist symphony of Douglas fir-lined interior- with all the acoustic qualities that timber yielded for it. In the Private Homes category was the clever manipulation of a tight urban site by David Mikhail Architects to create four light and airy homes on Church Walk in Hackney triumphed over a series of impressive private houses to take the award.

Atmos Studio’s beautifully crafted and ingenious ‘Roominaroom’ in a small London apartment more than pays tribute to the work of Victor Horta in the modern age with its curving joinery and is a worthy small project winner. And in the Repair and Adaptive Re-use category Waddington McClure Architects’ reinvented a tired old hall beyond recognition for Magheralin Parish Church in Northern Ireland.

Finally, Atmos Studio also received the judges’ Special Award for its inspired ‘Worldscape’ – a giant 80-seater table designed for a pop-up restaurant at the London 2012 Olympics, which illuminated diners with light from within it like a night view of the planet from space. The Wood Awards have again exemplified the breadth and ingenuity of designers, creating cutting-edge designs from this most primal of materials.

To see all of this year’s winners look out for the next RIBA Journal or visit