This 10-storey tall wood office building in Vancouver’s emerging False Creek Flats neighbourhood features a honeycomb structure of diagonally oriented braces in a cellular pattern. This unique design not only gives the building’s a signature look, but offers structural benefits, seismic performance and protection from the elements.
Warmth of wood, natural materials and access to the outdoors
The proposed 10-storey office development will rise to a total height of nearly 45 metres (147 feet) above its False Creek Flats location. This includes nine levels of mass timber construction built above a concrete base, and a honeycomb structure of diagonally oriented braces in a cellular pattern. Exposed wood will be a major feature of the interior spaces. The use of mass timber is complemented by a palette of earth tone materials, including composite metal panels, wood soffits, and ample glazing. With balconies located between brace bays on the south, west and east elevations, the building features unique alternating outdoor space on each floor. At the top of the building, the facade extends beyond the top office floor to create a windscreen and guard for an open-air roof deck with plants, urban agriculture, and views to the North Shore mountains and the Downtown Vancouver skyline.
An efficient, attractive use of mass timber products
Assembled as a prefabricated kit of parts, 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.
The building’s design uses a perimeter braced structural system that creates a striking expression of the building from the exterior and eliminates the need for conventional cast-in-place concrete cores. A mass timber structure is proposed for all floors above Level 2; a series of timber shear walls in the interior and a series of structural braces at the exterior resist the wind and seismic load. The distinctive structural seismic and lateral design of diagonal glulam buckling-restrained braces creates a cellular expression on the façade that wraps around the building and is continuous to all elevations. This design is a direct reflection of the structural system, achieved through a self-supporting thermally broken series of balconies.
Responds to the scale and texture of the surrounding neighbourhood
The exterior cellular structure works at multiple scales. At the neighbourhood scale, it creates a strong identity with an exoskeleton that references nature. At the street scale, the 2-storey cells reduce the mass of the building and create a finer grain texture. At the human scale, the cells create a place that can be occupied and provides prospect, refuge, and protection from the elements. This unique design forms a network of balconies on the south, west, and east façades, providing shade and spaces for building occupants to enjoy the outdoors next to balcony integrated gardens.