World / US and Canada

Record-setting wooden building to be erected on Vancouver campus

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-12 15:38

VANCOUVER -- The construction of a record-setting 53-meter high tower building with mostly wooden material is under way on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, west Canada.

Its bold and green design aims to demonstrate that building large, wooden structures isn't too much complex, Russell Acton, principal architect from the building designer Acton Ostry Architects, told the media on Saturday.

"It's got less of an environmental impact with respect to producing greenhouse gases," he said, adding that the 18-storey building will serve as a student dormitory.

He said the design is hybrid, using concrete for a podium on the first floor, and for two core structures.

"Absolutely it's as strong. There are particular code requirements, building code requirements that we have to adhere to and prove out that it's as strong as a concrete or steel building. It will perform similarly to the same level as concrete or steel when in a seismic event," Acton noted.

The dormitory building, named Brock Commons, is designed to accommodate 400 students and expected to be completed by September 2017 with an investment of 53 million Canadian dollars (more than 41 million US dollars).

According to the UBC, the wooden material to be used, including cross laminated timber floors and glued laminated timber wall pillars, will be all produced and pre-fabricated in Canada, partly in an effort to boost local forestry industry.

John Metras, managing director of the UBC infrastructure development, described such a massive use of timber for institutional buildings as an "evolution".

"We have eight other projects where we've used mass timber in lower-rise applications, so this is the first building at an 18-storey height," he said.

The designers said the structure should last as long as a steel or concrete tower of the same size, or having a life length of about 60 to 100 years.


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