Better buildings
July 12, 2023

Third round of mass timber demo projects advance BC’s design and construction capabilities, supporting healthy, high-performance buildings

The Mass Timber Demonstration Program (MTDP) is tackling climate change and contributing to a lower impact-built environment in its latest round of funding for projects across the province. This includes three civic buildings pursuing zero carbon design standards, an affordable housing project set to achieve Passive House Certification, and a four-storey mass timber addition to an existing concrete structure to enable densification and reuse. Considering this most recent funding cycle, the program is now supporting a total of 19 innovative mass timber, mass timber-concrete, and mass timber-steel hybrid projects throughout the province.

vienna house rendering - exterior stainsbury blvd

Vienna House | A seven-storey hybrid residential demo project that will showcase sustainable and cost-effective multi-family housing solutions built to Passive House standards. | Rendering courtesy of PUBLIC: Architecture + Communications


365 Railway showcases the benefits of lighter-weight mass timber and concrete construction

This four-storey commercial and industrial space built on top of an existing two-storey historic structure shows how lightweight prefabricated mass timber systems can cut carbon, speed up construction, boost density and give new life to heritage buildings.

365 Railway’s newly built structure will feature mass timber columns and beams, cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels with concrete topping, and steel for seismic bracing.

Given mass timber’s lighter weight, the project accommodates an addition of four storeys on top of the existing two-storey structure, rather than only three floors if built using concrete. The extra floor is made possible due to the mass timber structure’s reduced weight.

Rendering courtesy of Perkins&Will

Rendering of the exterior of a building from a streetview.

River District Parcel 19.1 to be a model for high-density mixed-use tall wood developments

This 18-storey residential mixed-use mass timber tower and seven-storey mid-rise building will provide over 240 units of combined rental and strata housing to Vancouver’s Killarney neighbourhood.

The project serves as a prototype for future tall-wood residential mixed-use developments—and how tall-wood projects of this kind can realize the full potential of technologies for mass timber high-rise construction. Its hybrid mass timber and steel structure will consist of CLT floor panels and steel-stud framing for the infill, shear, and exterior walls.

Rendering courtesy of Wesgroup Properties

Rendering of a building from an aerial view.

Vienna House to be a replicable mass timber model for future affordable housing solutions

This seven-storey, hybrid-residential demo project in the heart of East Vancouver will have 123 units ranging from studios to four bedrooms, accommodating a demographically diverse range of residents. It will showcase resilient, sustainable, cost-effective multi-family housing solutions built to Passive House standards.

It is designed as a mass timber and light-frame wood hybrid structure, making it an efficient and replicable typology. With the speed of construction being a key driver of affordability, the project will use prefabricated panels to achieve a 12-week timeline instead of the typical 20-week for an on-site build.

Vienna House is also one of ten projects supported by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) National Housing Strategy (NHS) Demonstration Initiative.

Rendering courtesy of PUBLIC: Architecture + Communications


Exterior entrance of a building labeled "Vienna House"

Cameron Community Centre and Library is set to cut carbon by more than a third through mass timber

The Cameron Community Centre and Library is a large-scale, multi-purpose recreational hub designed to provide aquatics and expanded fitness, community programming, and library space to the fast-growing City of Burnaby.

This massive community project will serve as a civic anchor to the Lougheed Town Centre neighbourhoods, anticipating rapid growth in the coming years.

From the onset, the City of Burnaby made energy-efficient construction a top priority—selecting a hybrid mass timber solution to reduce the project’s overall use of energy-intensive materials. This will cut the project’s overall carbon emissions by more than a third.

Rendering courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects


Streetview of the east entrance of the Cameron Community Centre and Library with people actively using the exterior space.

Marpole Community Centre makes the most of its park-setting

The Marpole Community Centre replaces an aging facility with a two-story building nearly double its size. The new facility will provide the south Vancouver region with a well-equipped gymnasium, fitness amenities, multipurpose rooms, a senior centre, and a childcare facility.

The mass timber structure features a frame of glue-laminated timber (glulam) columns and beams, a dowel-laminated timber (DLT) floor system, and tongue and groove (T&G) timber decking. The project team is undertaking an alternate solution to the Vancouver Building Bylaw to expose much of the building’s mass timber structure.

Situated in the city’s Oak Park on a major thoroughfare, the new building will make the most of its naturally wooded setting while respecting the ecological diversity of the site. Along with the indoor facility, the project includes a new outdoor swimming pool to be located on the site’s southeast corner, as well as a splash pad, children’s playground, sports court, and performance circle. This low-carbon, high-performance facility, is set to meet Passive House certification and targets LEED Gold.

Courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects / Visma


Streetview of a community centre with lots of people sitting and walking around the entry area.

Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre’s mass timber design fuses technological and traditional values

This nearly all-wood three-storey building dedicated to ecological preservation and sustainable development of the Clayoquot region aims to bring together scientific and traditional knowledge. The design references the traditional gathering place of the plank house and showcases timber technology to help reduce its embodied carbon emissions while meeting the Living Building Challenge requirements.

The building’s vaulted roof is a CLTstacked deck assembly arranged in a shingle configuration inspired by the wood slab typology of the Indigenous west coast plank house. Long timber beams will provide support for the cascading CLT roof surface.  A concrete topping will be used in combination with the CLT flooring to facilitate a geothermally sourced hydronic heating and cooling system.

Rendering courtesy of MOTIV Architects Inc


Front entry of theClayoquot Sound Biosphere Centre with two people walking towards the building.

Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station (PODS) to become an iconic mass timber building promoting marine research and preservation

The Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station (PODS) will be an iconic mass timber multi-use community structure dedicated to marine education, recreation, research and preservation.

The two-storey, net-zero carbon mass timber building will be a signature building on the waterfront with three ‘pods’ resembling wooden boats, an iconic expression of the region’s maritime culture.

The PODS building design incorporates wood in its construction wherever possible, using a range of mass timber products including glulam beams, columns, arches and floor panels. The project will use renewable energy sources such as solar cells, wave power, tidal power and geothermal heat exchange to minimize energy consumption.

Illustration courtesy of David Nairne Associates Ltd. Credit: Jordan Lypkie


Illustration of a building resembling 3 upturned wooden boats, surrounded by forest and visitors

Mass Timber Demonstration Program

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

  • Prove the business case for mass timber use and support the costs related to the learning curve associated with increasing adoption of mass timber use in the development and construction sector.
  • Showcase best practices and share lessons learned to support future uptake of mass timber technologies.
  • Demonstrate performance and commercial success for B.C.-based mass timber technologies, design and construction expertise, and services.
  • Undertake building information modelling (BIM), virtual design and/or 3-D modeling to support prefabrication, leveraging the speed of construction and other benefits associated with mass timber and prefabrication of building components.
  • Undertake life cycle analysis, greenhouse gas mitigation or related carbon accounting analysis.

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