World’s tallest hybrid wood building: Vancouver’s 18-storey student residence
7 things to know
- The mass timber frame was assembled in just over 9 weeks
- It’s a hybrid, built of engineered mass timber and concrete
- Extensive testing confirms that the building meets building codes
- Building with wood is environmentally friendly and affordable
- Guide for architects, engineers, developers and other building professionals
- The project can be adapted for future tall wood projects in Canada
- Apply for funding to encourage greater use of wood in construction
With conventional materials, framing would have taken six to eight months, some three to four times longer. From start to finish, it took about two years to complete the project. In September 2017, over 400 students moved into Brock Commons Tallwood House, located on the campus of the University of British Columbia.
Check out a time lapse of the Brock Commons construction.
Engineered mass timber is made of layers of wood, connected by glue, nails or wooden dowels. It is incredibly strong, stable and rigid while remaining very lightweight. Concrete was used for the main floor and the two stairwells.
The building was tested for structural performance, fire prevention, energy efficiency, vibration and noise levels. Timber chars on the outside while retaining strength and burning slowly at a predictable rate. The highly compartmentalized building design keeps fire from spreading.
In most applications, wood is more affordable and lightweight than other construction materials. It requires less energy to manufacture and stores more carbon than traditional materials. Tall wood buildings also conserve energy in heating and cooling. The net effect is that wood construction mitigates climate change.
The Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in Canada, published by FPInnovations, helps the building industry to meet tall wood building requirements in the National Building Code of Canada. The guide was funded by Natural Resources Canada, which also contributed $2.3 million to the Brock Commons Tallwood House.
Brock Commons showcases innovative materials, technology and design that can be applied to other tall wood buildings projects across Canada. This project and others like it have great potential to expand the market for Canadian wood products internationally.
The Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) Program funds tall wood demonstration projects that showcase innovative mass timber products and systems. Goals include boosting the forest products and construction industries while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. Companies and non-profit organizations may apply.
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