MEC Head Office

Location

Vancouver, BC

Size

10,219 square metres

Completion

2014

Structural Engineer

Fast + Epp

Engineered Wood Fabricator

Structurlam Mass Timber Corporation

The abundant use of glass and open spaces makes wood visible from every vantage point, including the open wood staircase that is the building’s central feature.
  • The floors of the four-storey structure were constructed using prefabrication and nail-laminated timber (NLT).
  • Glass and open spaces make wood features visible from every vantage point in the building.
  • Warm and inviting Douglas-fir millwork screens offer an inviting alternative to traditional office cubicles.

When Canada’s leading retailer of outdoor gear set out to construct a new head office, they chose wood as the primary building material for its performance, renewability and aesthetic qualities. The four-storey headquarters, situated in Vancouver’s burgeoning high-tech hub of False Creek Flats, is constructed using nail-laminated timber (NLT), a simple yet economical construction technology that’s been used in commercial buildings for more than 150 years.

Wood in every room

To deliver an economical and flexible structural solution, the architects devised a glue-laminated timber (glulam) post-and-beam system for the primary four-storey structure. Nail lamination, or mill decking, as they called it a century ago, was used in industrial and commercial buildings. The floor assemblies were old-meets-new technology—modular prefabricated nail-laminated timber (NLT) panels made from 2 x 8s. The panels were craned in to the site and covered with a plywood layer but left exposed to the view from below. The floor design is configured so that wood features prominently from every view.

A healthy workspace for a new era of worker

The heavy timber building was designed to provide an enhanced workspace for employees, with an emphasis on natural light and air-control systems that allow the building to be 70 percent more efficient than a conventional office building. A system draws fresh air throughout the building and expansive windows flood the interior spaces with daylight.