Ronald McDonald House BC & Yukon provides a ‘home away from home’ for 73 out-of-town families whose children are receiving treatment for serious illnesses at the BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital. It replaces a much smaller 12-unit complex that occupied a heritage house in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood. One of the most important design ambitions was to recreate the nurturing environment and sense of community so crucial for families facing one of life’s greatest emotional challenges.
The innovative use of mass timber construction in this project provides an interesting subtext to its over-riding social agenda. Designed for a 100 year service life, a cross-laminated timber (CLT) vertical structure combined with a light wood floor system provided the required combination of economy, durability and aesthetics. Ronald McDonald House BC & Yukon is the first project in North America to use this hybrid construction method in a tilt-up format. The construction process involved laying out a series of CLT panels on the ground, each pre-fitted with ledgers to support floor joists as necessary. These panels are then tilted into place and stabilized until the horizontal structure is installed.
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