Sycamore & Oak by Adjaye Associates Wins A 2024 Wood in Architecture Award

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Sycamore & Oak, an innovative Retail Village designed by Adjaye Associates, has been honored with the prestigious 2024 Wood in Architecture Award. This accolade, presented by the WoodWorks Wood Products Council, celebrates excellence and innovation in using wood in architectural design, recognizing high achievements in design excellence, sustainability and resilience, and market impact.

Located in Washington, DC, Sycamore & Oak has transformed a previously blighted urban site into a vibrant community hub. The project uses eco-friendly materials such as glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams and columns, dowel-laminated timber (DLT) and nail-laminated timber (NLT) panels, and a cross-laminated timber (CLT) statement wall. This sustainable approach not only supports environmental goals but also creates an inspiring space for local businesses, eateries, a fitness gym, performance areas, and more. The development prioritizes community engagement and flexibility, with a design that allows for future relocation. By extending glulam columns below the deck to rest on precast footings set atop the existing asphalt pavement, the project avoided the need for an expensive foundation, ensuring cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

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In addition to Adjaye Associates as the design architect, the project team includes Winstanley Architects & Planners as the architect of record, StructureCraft as the structural engineer, Banneker Ventures as the general contractor, and STE15 LLC, a joint venture of Emerson Collective and Redbrick LMD, as the developer. Together, they have created a space that supports health, wellness, and economic sustainability, demonstrating how wood can foster a ‘community within a community.’ The project team sought and received input from a very engaged neighborhood, which emphasized the need for a sustainable, flexible space to gather—a place that would support health and wellness.

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The Retail Village at Sycamore & Oak, which houses local businesses and provides a platform for artists, entrepreneurs, and residents to thrive, exemplifies how mass timber can contribute to both environmental and economic sustainability. The unique structure includes two small, enclosed retail structures, while most of the space is dedicated to the open-air pavilion. Designed for future relocation, this project is built on a parcel of city-owned land slated for redevelopment in the coming years, showcasing the adaptability and resilience of wood construction.

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Sycamore & Oak’s innovative design not only revitalizes the urban landscape but also meets the community’s needs for a sustainable and engaging gathering space.

Photograph by Dror Baldinger FAIA.

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