Ronald McDonald House BC Yukon


Vancouver, B.C.


6,800 square metres




MGA | Michael Green Architecture

(project started at Mcfarlane Green Biggar Architecture + Design)

Structural Engineer

Equilibrium Consulting Inc.

General Contractor

ITC Construction Group


Western red cedar

Project Materials

Cross-laminated timber (CLT)

Laminated strand lumber (LSL)



Structural Systems

Hybrid / Wood

Light frame

Low rise

Mass timber


Architecture with empathy: wood makes a welcoming impression

With durable timber construction, Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon has provided an enduring home away from home for up to 70 out-of-town families at a time whose children are receiving treatment at the BC Women’s and Children’s Hospitals.

One of the most important design ambitions was to recreate the nurturing environment and sense of community so crucial for families facing one of life’s greatest emotional challenges. Abundant natural light, exposed wood finishes and built in play equipment—such as the slide that parallels the stairs between the ground and first floor levels—contribute to an atmosphere of cheerful domesticity.

  • Decidedly non-institutional in its feel, where dignity and playfulness live side by side.
  • Grand living room features an exposed-timber floor and ceiling.
  • Children descend into common spaces by way of a wooden staircase or an enclosed yellow slide.

Hybrid CLT and light-frame wood floor system

This project set a new benchmark for robust, cost-effective, institutional-grade timber construction, as the first example in the world of a tilt-up cross-laminated timber (CLT) and light-frame wood building system designed for a 100-year service life.

An advanced application of mass-timber construction, it’s composed of a hybrid CLT wall and high-performance light-wood floor system. Laminated strand lumber (LSL) floor ledgers support joists, decking, and a concrete topping. The panellized construction allowed for off-site prefabrication, with panels factory-cut to a precise size and fit.

Designed to feel like a home and not a hotel

The exterior of the building, which is just steps away from the B.C. Women’s and Children’s Hospitals in central Vancouver, is designed to feel like a home and not a hotel.

It’s a fresh take on more traditional residential motifs. An iron-spot brick façade is punctuated by square-box dormers. Cedar cladding and wood window frames offer a warm contrast to the sleek, steel-grey masonry.

The response was to organize the program into four ‘houses’, each with its own unique identity, with graphics that represent the diverse geography of the province (Beach, Forest, Mountain, River). The houses have six units and a small common area per floor, with a shared kitchen on the ground floor. Each house shares a dining room, living room and courtyard with its neighbour. This creates an intermediate social unit that ultimately connects to the whole complex, in which all 73 families share a common living room. It all blends seamlessly within its warm, contemporary, yet understated interior, offering moments for both quiet reflection and social connection.