J.W. Sexsmith Elementary School


Vancouver, BC


3,770 square metres




Iredale Architecture

Structural Engineer

Iredale Architecture

Project Owner

School District No. 39 Vancouver

Construction Manager

Pro-Can Construction Group

Project Materials

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)

Laminated veneer lumber (LVL)


Parallel strand lumber (PSL)



Solid-sawn heavy timber

Structural Systems

Light frame

Mass timber

Post + beam

Project Overview

This two-storey, 3,770 square metre facility was built under the province of British Columbia’s seismic mitigation program for schools. It replaces the original J.W. Sexsmith Elementary dating from 1912, that structural analysis had determined would be uneconomical to upgrade to current code standards. Located on a south sloping site in the Langara neighbourhood of Vancouver, the new school serves a diverse student population in an area that is transitioning from single-family to multi-family homes.

Wood Use

The school is constructed almost entirely of wood, employing a combination of traditional light wood frame with engineered wood elements where required for long spans or particularly heavy load conditions. Glue-laminated beams are used for large spans supporting roof and floor framing, and glue-laminated columns are used for large loading conditions generally supporting the beams. The floors employ both wood I-joists with plywood webs, and solid sawn lumber, while the roof uses open web pre-engineered wood trusses, with solid sawn lumber joists and rafters.

“The wood finish in the school helps to create a warm and wonderful learning environment for our students. Sexsmith is also a really gorgeous looking school and the reason it is so visually attractive is the wood”.

Ross Cassie, Principal
J.W. Sexsmith Elementary School