Surrey Central City

Location

Surrey, BC

Size

7,896 square metres

Completion

2003

Architect

Bing Thom Architects

Structural Engineer

Fast + Epp

Species

Douglas-Fir

Timber steals the show in this 2003 turning-point project in the province’s fastest growing city.
  • Expressive uses of wood tie form and function together.
  • The atrium roof features a geometric wood space frame constructed from 3,700 Douglas-fir peeler cores—making full use of a by-product of the plywood industry.
  • Parallel strand lumber (PSL) mullion columns support the atrium’s lower glazing and the concrete canopy above it—unique in a large and complex façade.

Three distinct timber structural systems are used for the atrium, galleria, and facade of this combined shopping centre, commercial office space, and university—giving warmth and expression to an otherwise concrete, steel, and glass building.

The atrium roof features a geometric wood space frame constructed from 3,700 Douglas-fir peeler cores—making full use of a by-product of the plywood industry. Varying clusters of Douglas-fir logs, turned and tapered, branch from reinforced concrete columns. Upon entering the building, visitors’ eyes are immediately drawn to the atrium’s expressive web of 3-D timber, reminiscent of a child’s Tinkertoy construction set. Large parallel strand lumber (PSL) mullion columns support the atrium’s lower glazing as well as the concrete canopy above it, something unique in a façade so large and complex.

The 2,200-square-metre galleria roof—a freeform skeletal structure consisting of 20 individual 3-D composite timber-and-steel cable trusses—covers a serpentine-shaped, five-storey-high vaulted space.

All in all, the atrium, galleria, and façade designs not only push the boundaries of what’s possible with wood, but serve as a civic statement, emblematic of the City of Surrey’s official motto: the future lives here.