This proposed 37-storey wooden skyscraper, named Canada’s Earth Tower, could become the tallest of its kind in the world when completed. The ambitious project aims to set a new benchmark in sustainable high-rise construction.
- Cross-laminated timber panels, supported by glue-laminated timber columns.
- Mixed-use development with one storey commercial, five storeys office topped with 32 storeys of residential.
- Interconnected winter gardens will be shared by residents for a chance to interact and connect with nature.
A benchmark-setting tall wood urban development
Conceived as a landmark timber tower in the heart of Vancouver, Canada’s Earth Tower could set a new precedent for sustainable building in the development industry, according to Vancouver-based Delta Land Development. The contemplated project would not only become the tallest wood building of its kind, but also serve as an urban centerpiece to the city’s Central Broadway corridor. The building’s energy efficiency and abundant use of timber will significantly reduce CO2 emissions while showcasing the option for more climate-friendly, high-density urban living.
Mix of offices, residential and rental/co-housing units
The mixed-use development combines street level retail with five storeys of offices, topped with 32 storeys of two- and three-bedroom homes. At least 20 percent of residences is set aside for non-market housing, such as rental or co-housing. The building will be situated on a horseshoe-shaped base, landscaped and sited so that it is publicly accessible for neighbourhood use. The structure will use parts of the existing building’s concrete foundation, combined with a new concrete core and mass timber building system.
A fire-safe hybrid mass timber design
Expansive use of mass timber panels, supported by glue-laminated timber (glulam) columns, comprise the floor plates of the timber tower. In some instances, the structure will be left exposed to form expansive spaces wrapped in the natural warmth of wood. A composite technique, that combines mass timber with reinforced concrete cores for elevators and emergency staircases, provides lateral stability to the structure, along with added seismic and fire protection.
When it comes to fire-safety, the design team is using real-life testing and simulations. This helps show, in the event of a fire, the wood-hybrid design will retain its structural integrity and meet all code requirements. Extensive research to date has proven mass timber meets code and is fire safe. When exposed to fire, the outer layers of thick mass timber members char to provide natural protection against fire penetration.
Connections to nature and outdoor space
The Tower will incorporate interconnected winter gardens among the 32 storeys of housing. These outdoor terraces will be shared between three floors, providing opportunities for social interaction among residents and a chance to connect with nature. Inside, the design favours natural products, including using wood as both structure and finish whenever possible. This reflects a growing interest in biophilic design—the concept that being exposed to nature—and natural, organic materials—not only calms our mind, but can contribute to a sense of health and well-being.
While the project is still in the preliminary planning stage, it is designed to change perceptions and demonstrate what’s possible with tall wood construction and design. Our goal is really simple: we hope for a call of courage from the city, from us, and other developers to change the way now on how we do things. We don’t have an unlimited time with the climate emergency we face.”
Bruce Langereis, President
Delta Land Development