World Architecture Festival 2021

World Architecture Festival 2021

Construction event

For the third time, we supported the World Architecture Festival 'Best Use of Certified Timber Prize', rewarding architects and project teams for their use of certified timber as a main construction material for buildings outstanding in sustainability, innovation, quality or aesthetics.

“In the two years’ dialogue with renowned architects at WAF, we have noticed an increasing interest in sustainable timber. Some architects even say it’s 'the only way forward'," said Fabienne Sinclair, Head of Marketing at PEFC International. 

"We are pleased to contribute to making both forests and construction more sustainable.” 

At the heart of the Festival sits a unique awards programme. It is the only architecture awards where architects pitch their work to a panel of expert judges and their peers.

The World Architecture Festival is a globally renowned event dedicated to celebrating, sharing and inspiring outstanding architecture. For more information visit:

Winner of the 'Best Use of Certified Timber Prize'

During an online session on 30 November, PEFC Deputy CEO Michael Berger revealed Scion Innovation Hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata by RTA Studio/Irving Smith Architects as the winner.

Located in New Zealand, Scion Innovation Hub was chosen as the most outstanding of the eight shortlisted projects from around the world. 

It is also the winner of the WAF award in the category Completed Buildings - Higher Education and Research.

Proudly showcasing PEFC-certified timber in a unique diagrid structure, the building requires less material than traditional mass engineered timber buildings.

The judges highlighted the focus of the project, away from gravity mass timber buildings to geometrically stiffened forms to help in earthquake conditions.

It was also noted that the building achieved embodied carbon zero at the time of completion and showcased dovetail node joints which slot together, in an expression of craftsmanship and beauty.

2021 finalists

This year, eight fantastic buildings made the shortlist. While all these buildings have their use of certified timber in common, their style and purpose vary widely: from higher education and research to community spaces and sports facilities, to name only a few.

The shortlisted projects are prime examples of the possibilities timber as a construction material offers.

“It is inspiring to see the large variety of buildings in the finals, benefitting from the use of certified timber in so many different ways,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International. 

“While some of the architects chose timber for its flexibility and robustness, others appreciate its natural look and the positive effects it has for people, climate and the planet.”

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