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.
- A tall wood commercial office featuring a structure of diagonally oriented braces in a cellular pattern offering a bold aesthetic and seismic performance.
- Systems include glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams, columns, and braces, cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panels, shear walls and balconies.
- An exposed mass timber structure adds warmth to interior spaces while remaining fire-safe.
The 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.
Efficient, attractive use of mass timber products
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.
A fire-safe tall wood design
Keith Drive will be constructed of fire-resistant CLT mass timber panels, as well as glulam wood columns and beams. These large timber members have been specially designed and engineered through extensive testing to withstand the flames and intense heat that would result from a fire. They will do that by burning and charring around the outside, to a carefully calculated depth that is only a fraction of the total thickness. That outer layer of charring forms a barrier that protects the bulk of the column or panel, as well as structural steel connections inside the columns.
Charred panels and columns will meet the two-hour fire-resistance rating building code requirement, which allows ample time to fully evacuate the building and for the fire department to safely fight the fire. The primary concern in the event of a fire is life safety, which is delivered through this design.
This project is 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. BC industry will benefit from lessons learned, results, and research findings that can help support future mass timber projects in the province. Learn more at masstimber.bc.ca.