BC Hydro Operations Centre, Port Alberni


Port Alberni, BC


2,100 square metres





Structural Engineer


Engineered Wood Fabricator

Mercer Mass Timber LLC

Project Materials

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)


Solid-sawn heavy timber

Structural Systems

Hybrid / Other

Passive House / High performance

Post + beam


BC Hydro’s Port Alberni facility featured wood so prominently, and successfully, that it inspired another wood-forward facility at Hydro’s Maple Ridge location.

  • The curved hybrid glue-laminated timber (glulam) and steel roof covers the warehouse, office and large outdoor area.
  • The building is located in Canada’s highest seismic zone.
  • Douglas-fir is used in the solid beams, millwork and doors, and western red cedar on the ceilings.

The new 2,100-square-metre facility is located on the outskirts of Port Alberni, BC. It brings together the provincial electrical utility’s indoor and outdoor workers for the first time under a single unifying roof—a metaphoric bridge connecting these historically independent departments. The building is located in Canada’s highest seismic zone and needed to function as a post-disaster operations centre. As a result, it has been designed for strength, flexibility and durability.

A hybrid of wood and steel roof

The wood roof is the most striking feature—a hybrid of wood and steel with open web steel joists used in the warehouse portion of the building. The office portion consists of a braced, steel frame supporting glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams on the main column lines. These in turn support horizontal glulam purlins that are cross-braced by solid Douglas-fir members. The interior is warm for a utility building, with vertical grain Douglas-fir for the doors and millwork, and custom western red cedar slatted ceilings.