Timber trends
April 7, 2021

8 mass timber demonstration projects announced

Mass timber demonstration projects grow B.C.’s expertise and advance wood construction, all the while boosting local economies and the province’s competitive advantage. B.C.’s design practitioners, developers, construction contractors, provincial and municipal code, permitting and approval agencies will benefit from the lessons learned from these building projects and resulting research.

Keith Drive Rendering Section

The Hive (2150 Keith Drive) | The bold design of this 10-storey tall wood office building in Vancouver’s emerging False Creek Flats neighbourhood features a honeycomb-shaped exterior, an expression of the mass timber building’s unique perimeter-braced seismic system. | Rendering courtesy of DIALOG

The long-term goals are to expand the use of mass timber in B.C., to overcome impediments to the development of mass timber expertise and construction, and to lock in B.C.’s global leadership in advanced wood products, technologies and services.

These projects are supported through Stronger BC, British Columbia’s Economic Recovery Plan. The Mass Timber Demonstration Program (MTDP) provides funding for incremental costs in the design and construction of buildings that showcase emerging or new mass timber and mass timber hybrid building systems and construction processes. The program supports jobs and employment recovery in the design, engineering, construction and product manufacturing sector.

The learnings gleaned from these projects will benefit the sector broadly and will:

  • Undertake virtual design or 3-D modeling to support off-site prefabrication, taking advantage of the speed of construction and other benefits associated with mass timber and prefabrication of building components.
  • Undertake life cycle analysis, GHG mitigation, or related carbon accounting analysis.
  • Demonstrate performance and commercial success for B.C.-based mass timber technologies, design and construction expertise and services. Showcase best practices and share lessons learned to support future uptake of mass timber technologies.
  • Prove out the business case for mass timber use and support the costs related to the learning curve associated with regularizing mass timber use in the development and construction sector.

Biophilic benefits

First Nations Health Authority Metro Vancouver Office

Exposed mass timber construction will give the First Nations Health Authority a new Metro Vancouver office that envelops employees in the biophilic benefits of wood and pays homage to the Coast Salish people’s plank house tradition.

The building is primarily an office, along with social spaces for meetings, gatherings, cultural activities, education and demonstrations. 

Rendering courtesy of DIALOG


North west street view of First Nations Health Authority Metro Vancouver Office
Post-disaster response equipped

District of Saanich Fire Station #2 Redevelopment

This fire station for the District of Saanich is one of the first mass timber buildings in Canada to target a zero-carbon building standard while being fully equipped for post-disaster response. It will serve as a demonstration project and template for future post-disaster buildings.

The project will target LEED Gold (with the aspiration to reach Platinum), CaGBC Zero Carbon Building Standard, and the BC Energy Step Code Level 2.

Rendering courtesy of hcma

Exterior rendering of the Fire Station with a view of glulam columns through the window. Fire professionals actively move throughout the space.
Affordable multi-family rental building

Main and Cordova (MAC)

MAC is one of the first affordable multi-family rental buildings in Canada to use CLT and the first building in Canada to use CLT panels and cold-formed steel (CFS) in a wall-supported design. CFS adds to the project’s cost efficiencies, cleverly eliminating the need for additional beams and complicated connections. The demonstration project shows how mass timber construction can deliver cost-effective, quick and high-quality housing solutions. By embedding CFS framing into the walls the design eliminates the need for additional beams and complicated connections—a key contributor to cutting construction costs. 

Rendering courtesy of Main and Cordova project team

Main and Cordova CLT Floor Detail
First tall wood market rental housing

Main Street and 5th Avenue (Prototype)

This 21-storey mass timber residential building, Main Street and 5th Avenue, demonstrates how low-carbon tall wood construction is a viable option for purpose-built rental housing. Located in Vancouver’s vibrant Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, the project aims to deliver a mix of units affordable to moderate-income residents. As its name suggests, Prototype sets out to be a model for future tall wood housing projects that are sustainable, cost-effective and replicable. This includes optimizing wood usage, minimizing the number of elements required for each floor and connection designs to reduce crane time and quicken construction.

Rendering courtesy of Henriquez Partners Architects

Prototype rendering west view
New rapid onsite construction in the Okanagan

The Exchange

This four-storey mixed‐use industrial/retail/office building will help boost the revitalization of Kelowna’s north end of downtown. The Exchange envisions a vibrant marketplace—home to a diverse mix of makers who proudly put their products, services and their process on display. This local market approach continues the tradition of the Kelowna Growers Exchange, a farmers’ co-op originally conceived in 1913 that quickly became a cornerstone to the region’s early economic growth. More than a century later, The Exchange aspires to be a creative commercial hub for the rapidly growing Okanagan Valley.

Rendering courtesy of Faction Projects

Rendering of The Exchange lobby
Unique perimeter-braced seismic system

The Hive (2150 Keith Drive)

The bold design of this 10-storey tall wood office building in Vancouver’s emerging False Creek Flats neighbourhood features a honeycomb-shaped exterior, an expression of the mass timber building’s unique perimeter-braced seismic system.

This project will use a variety of engineered wood products to achieve its design goals. The wood components and systems include glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams, columns, and braces, cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panels, shear walls and balconies.

Rendering courtesy of DIALOG

Keith Drive Rendering Balcony Gardens
Old and new unite

837 Beatty Street Rehabilitation and Addition

Old and new unite in this century-old historic timber warehouse to be topped with a four-storey mass timber addition of modern commercial offices. 837 Beatty Street is an existing three-storey former warehouse located in downtown Vancouver and is part of the distinctive Block 68 collection of historic warehouses. This Edwardian industrial heritage building constructed in 1911 was part of the early twentieth-century building boom that saw numerous warehouses constructed near False Creek across the once Canadian Pacific Railway’s Yaletown landholdings.

Rendering courtesy of office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers

Artist rendering of industrial building at 837 Beatty Street showing street view
Read the press release

Mass timber investments to change face of B.C. construction

The Province is providing funding for 12 mass timber demonstration and research projects and has established a new advisory council to accelerate the adoption of mass timber building systems, as part of the Province’s economic recovery.

First Nations Health Authority Metro Vancouver Office | Rendering courtesy of DIALOG