First Annual Sustainable Versatility Design Awards Announced

f9bafde5543328c28476029d2d09f9f7The Top 3 award winners for NELMA’s first design award competition were recently announced at the 2012 Annual Convention of the Association. The challenge given to college architect and design students last fall was to design a free-standing structure of 600 square feet maximum that prominently featured Eastern White Pine products throughout, along with additional sustainable design features of their own choosing.  Under the competition heading of What’s Small and Made of Wood, a total of 9 designs made it to the finals.  This year’s judges were NELMA’s Marketing Committee Chairman, Matt Duprey, Jessie Thompson from the multiple award-winning architect firm of Kaplan Thompson, and Steve Thomas of This Old House fame.

e21eb5a09a7c48cdd782e1d1a90d9b7fCongratulations goes to Maynard Hayden Leon of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for his First Place design.  Mr. Leon was recognized at a formal presentation during the Convention, receiving his “Susty” trophy and $1000 award from Steve Thomas. Titled “Studio Soleil”, Mr. Leon’s design project consisted of a detached teaching studio and performance space for a piano teacher. Eastern White Pine is highlighted throughout the project. Built-in millwork, including the bookshelves that line the main space, as well as the acoustic baffle system that shapes the sound of the studio space are all made of Eastern White Pine. The exterior of the structure employs the traditional “Shou Sugi Ban” method of charring wooden siding, which carbonizes the face of the wood and is said to protect the wood against rain, rot, and insects for 80 years.

5db5f8d0e42eb4ce52ebb94aab627282The second place award of $500 was achieved by Benjamin J. Greer who attends Northeastern University.  Mr. Greer’s design was titled “Home”.  This forward-thinking residence used the sustainable and aesthetic qualities of Eastern White Pine as a building block for its design. The building openly displays the adaptability and functionality of the wood species as a building material by expressing and accenting its many uses. “Home” pushes the envelope of typical uses of eastern white pine and tries to come up with new and innovative ways to use this remarkable material to create a modern sustainable house. Inspired by the northeast log cabin, this modern take on minimalism strives to provide a substantial sense of comfort and diversity in a small 600 square foot space. Designed for an individual or couple, “Home” is meant to be a low cost, self-sustaining modular prototype that has a small impact on its environment


cbdd2af47fc5d60148b3bc73982b6d36Ms. Natalie Petricca of Carelton University was the competition’s Third Place $100 winner with her design of “Rest Area”. This pavilion is very simply a place where people hiking on a forest trail can sit, rest and take a break and enjoy the view. Finnish architectural traditions were deeply considered for this project. The use of 3” x 3” Eastern White Pine material mimic the powerful vertical members of the forest. These members are used in every aspect of the structure and seating, and are denser along the south and west faces as this is the direction from which the typical prevailing winds blow. The seating was specially designed to fit an average sized person and the incline of the back encourages one to gaze upwards.  The shading provided by the horizontal elements creates a play of shadows on the seating and on the people sitting in them.

We look forward to next year’s Sustainable Versatility Design Competition II, where new challenges will be presented to the architecture students for their creative design.  Look for upcoming announcements for the 2013 Program this summer, along with detailed information on this year’s award winning designs at the Competition’s website,