Crested Butte Center for the Arts in Colorado wins 2023 Wood Design Award

Steinberg Hart-designed Crested Butte Center for the Arts in Colorado has been awarded the 2023 Wood Design Award (WDA) for Regional Excellence, which celebrates the nation’s most innovative utilization of mass timber and light-frame wood structures, demonstrating the incredible potential of wood in the U.S.

The Center for the Arts is a community arts center that combines a 320-seat multi-functional theater, rehearsal studios, art gallery, and art studios. The wood components used throughout the Crested Butte Center for the Arts create a vibrant, inviting, and structurally muscular facility for the arts. The distinctive exterior is clad in cedar siding, whose distinctive blue stain highlights the character of the wood and has made the Center one of the most recognizable contemporary buildings in the historic mountain town. The double-pitched complex shape of the two-story lobby structure establishes an enveloping enclosure with views out to the magnificent surrounding mountain ranges. The roof’s peaked shape disperses the heavy snowfalls common during long periods of the year and recalls the shape of the nearby mountain.

The theater’s intimate character is largely due to the extensive use of wood in the space. Large inclined glulam columns support the roof, the perimeter balconies, and overhead catwalks. Curved and faceted wood acoustical reflectors provide the necessary sound reflections to create a warm and surrounding acoustic environment that can be tuned for various music and spoken-word performances. The balconies in the theater are constructed of laminated 2x wood members of varying depths. The alternating surfaces are key in dispersing the sound throughout the room and preventing side-wall echoes from one surface to another. Gaps created in the balcony fronts allow some of the sound to pass through the surfaces and improve sound dispersion. The heavily used theater floor is finished in end-grain mesquite blocks to provide a tough and durable finish that can serve the theater’s wide range of uses. The end-grain wood’s variety in color and patterning creates additional warmth and character to the room.

Press release below:

WoodWorks Announces Winners of Its 2023 U.S. Wood Design Awards

Awards Recognize Teams Driving Innovation in Wood Building Design

WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / March 27, 2023 / WoodWorks – Wood Products Council has announced its 2023 Wood Design Awards winners, celebrating excellence and innovation in mass timber, heavy timber, light-frame, and hybrid building design. The annual award program charts wood’s growth as a material of choice and recognizes developers and design teams whose creativity and emphasis on quality continue to expand the possibilities for wood buildings.

“Investing in a more sustainable future deserves to be recognized. It’s an honor to celebrate design teams that inspire the broader AEC community by challenging the expectations of modern design and construction. This year’s winning projects represent the work of building designers from across the nation who are demonstrating the incredible potential of wood,” said WoodWorks President and CEO, Jennifer Cover. “From 19 stories of CLT and glulam towering over the Milwaukee skyline to wooden reflectors enhancing acoustics in a Colorado theater, these projects underscore how wood enriches the physical landscape of our communities and the experience of those who inhabit them.”

Nominations were evaluated by an independent jury that included:

  • Corey Martin, Principal, Hacker Architects, Portland, Oregon
  • Cheung Chan, Associate and Architect, Neumann Monson Architects, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Lauren Wingo, Senior Structural Engineer, Arup, Washington, DC

National award categories include:

  • Commercial Wood Design – Mid-Rise
  • Commercial Wood Design – Low-Rise
  • Wood in Schools
  • Multi-Family Wood Design
  • Wood in Government Buildings
  • Institutional Wood Design
  • Sustainable Wood Design
  • Beauty of Wood
  • Durable & Adaptable Wood Structures
  • Innovation

Follow the links below for information on each project or view the full gallery of winners here.

Photographs of each winning project can be viewed and downloaded for media use here, along with a Word file that includes brief write-ups and photo credits.

You can also find all projects and team members on the WoodWorks Innovation Network.

Regional Excellence Winner

Crested Butte Center for the Arts | Crested Butte, Colorado
Architects: Steinberg Hart; Andrew Hadley Architect
Theater Consultant: Schuler Shook
Acoustics: Threshold Acoustics
Structural engineer: Resource Engineering Group
Owner: Center for the Arts
Contractor: Black Dragon Development

Contact Information

Roxane Ward

SOURCE: WoodWorks – Wood Products Council