The University of British Columbia is located on a forested peninsula on the west side of Vancouver. It is a community of academic, residential, commercial, and agricultural functions and facilities, with a strong focus on sustainability and the integration of research, teaching, and operations. In order to provide more housing, reduce commuting, and nurture a more sustainable and vibrant community, the University is developing campus hubs. These mixed-use high-rise hubs consist of student housing, academic facilities, and other social and service amenities for the whole community.
The University’s most recent hub development features the Brock Commons building, an innovative mass timber hybrid high-rise that, at 54 m high (18 storeys), is the tallest mass-timber building in the world when completed in 2017. Brock Commons provides 404 beds for students, in studios and quad units, with public amenity spaces on the ground floor and a lounge on the top floor.
Brock Commons’ hybrid structural design ensures the building’s performance and safety. The foundation, ground floor, and stair/elevator cores are reinforced concrete, while the superstructure is composed of cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panels supported on parallel strand lumber (PSL) and glue-laminated timber (glulam) columns with steel connections. The building envelope is comprised of prefabricated, steelstud frame panels with wood-fibre laminate cladding, and a traditional SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) roof assembly on metal decking.
Brock Commons is pioneering recent advances in engineered timber products and building techniques, demonstrating that wood is a viable option for high-rise applications while creating unique research and learning opportunities related to the design, construction, operation, and inhabitation of a tall wood building in North America.