New Zealand's vast mountainscapes and a long history of wood-sculpting lend themselves well to natural architectural design. Whether it's for interior design or the building envelope, wood is a favourite of many New Zealand architects and architectural designers.

You only have to look at the recently opened Waiheke Island Community Library, which recently scooped the Commercial Architectural Excellence accolade at the New Zealand Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards.

While the island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf may best be known for its stunning vineyards and thriving wine culture, the library's sustainable design team will be will be popping the cork to celebrate their own achievements after the building was judged to be a "lyrical response to a timber library building, and a robust structural statement".

Winning with wood
Historically known as Te Motu-arai-roa, or The Long Sheltering Island, Waiheke is a prime example of how local, natural characteristics can be seamlessly incorporated into a building's architectural design.

Speaking to the award's co-hosts NZ Wood, Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie at the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association (WPMA), praised the use of the versatile, sustainable building material.

"Timber is a renewable resource providing whole-of-life credibility. There are now so many exciting ways it's being used – it's visually inspiring and can be incredibly strong and flexible at the same time," she explained.

"Timber buildings are rapidly constructed and seismically stable, and at approximately 50 per cent of the total mass of concrete and steel for equivalent strength, provide especially compelling arguments for building on unstable or friable soils."

In fact, New Zealand is filled with perfect examples of how architects and homeowners have worked together to envisage and create beautiful wooden architecture.

A poplar architecture product
The Nectar function room at the Kingslander bar in Auckland (pictured) by Lovelace & Co. is just one example of how design professionals are bringing the outdoors inside to create eye-catching results. By using wood, not only structurally but in the state-of-the-art furniture throughout the building, a common, warm theme runs perfectly through the building.

Other projects show how building exteriors can be matched elegantly with the existing environment through the use of timber.
Deep-rooted in the environment and the culture of our nation, wood will always remain as a Kiwi favourite. We look forward to seeing more award-winning projects pick up well-deserved accolades in the near future.