It is time again for the Prairie Wood Design Awards! The winners for 2019 will be announced on February 12th and in preparation the Work Wild team has once again reviewed the nominees and selected our favorites. Below are my favourites from each of the five categories.

Category: Residential

Building: Tall Timbers

Location: Canmore, Alberta

Designer: russell and russell design studios

Photography: CMC Photography and Measure Services

The complementary wood on both the exterior and interior of this home unifies the living spaces in an interesting way. It is also unique having a continuous wood roof through many of the living spaces. The building combines wood materials with a very modern design, something I have not seen used frequently before!


Category: Interior

Building: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

Location: Calgary, Alberta

Designer: Gibbs Gage Architects with Diamond Schmitt Architects  

Photography: Ed White Photographics

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning celebrates both design and structural wood features. I appreciate how the designers made it a priority to have wood prominently displayed in both social and educational spaces. It brings a warmth to these spaces that otherwise has a fairly clean, modern, and institutional look. Especially in a university environment, having spaces with wood features can help bring a sense of calm to a building often filled with stress.


Category: Commercial

Building: RAW:Wasagaming

Location: Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

Designer: AUX: Projects

Photography: Simeon Rusnak Photography

Not only is the RAW:Wasagaming a beautiful building inside and out, it is also a very conscious build. The stacked logs are from 1200 spruce trees, which were previously harvested by Parks Canada to create fire belts and the restoration efforts of native species. After the pop-up restaurant was finished and the building was dismantled, many materials were reused. The logs were returned to Parks Canada to be used as firewood by future users of the Riding Mountain National Park. Other lumber, plywood, and PVC panels were traded to a local arborist for use in another building project— so cool!


Category: Institutional

Building: TD Outdoor Learning Centre

Location: Calgary, Alberta

Designer: O2 Planning + Design Inc.

Photography: Tree Construction

This project was a restoration of a previous learning centre which was destroyed in the floods of 2013. My favourite part of this project is that the designer’s goal was to “have a structure that begged users to ask the question: How was this structure even built? How is it even standing?”, how great to have the physical structure of a building foster curiosity— especially for a place of learning!


Category: Recreational

Building: Mill Creek Ravine Pedestrian Bridges

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Designer: ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd.

Photography: ISL Engineering and Land Services Ltd.

All of the structures in this system of bridges help Edmontonians get out and enjoy the natural beauties of the city. It would be quite jarring in a natural environment to have large metal or concrete structures. Using these wood structures simultaneously stand out and blend into the surroundings. The structure also represents the city’s history as the system was originally part of the Edmonton, Yukon, and Pacific Railway that brought some of the first trains to Edmonton. In the 1970s the structures were first converted for pedestrian use.


There were so many incredible projects to pick from this year,  and I am excited to see who the panel of judges will pick as their winner in each of the five categories. We will be announcing the official winners after the awards on February 12th. For more information on the Prairie Wood Design Awards, please visit their website or contact Barbara Murray.