Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre


Cordova Bay, BC


463 square metres



Structural Engineer

Herold Engineering Ltd.

Construction Manager

Pentech Projects

Wood Supplier

Mercer Mass Timber LLC

Project Owner

Jawl Properties

Wood Species


Western red cedar

Project Materials

Cross-laminated timber (CLT)


Structural Systems

Low rise

Mass timber

Expressions of wood throughout The Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre help create a healing environment in the building. Designers set out to explore the relationship between those who use the building and the natural environment where it is set by integrating natural materials.

  • Both the roof and shear walls are constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels, made up of locally harvested wood manufactured in British Columbia.
  • The roof structure is punctuated by three circular skylights that offer glimpses of the tree canopy outside.
  • In addition to the extensive use of BC wood, a renewable and sustainable material, the project incorporates a wide range of environmental design features.

The Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre, located in Cordova Bay north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, houses a physiotherapy clinic and ceramics studio. The community is filled with granite outcrops and forests of Douglas-fir, hemlock, western red cedar, and Garry oak trees.

The curved V-shaped plan was chosen to minimize the impact of the building on the existing rocks and trees of the site. The palette of natural materials includes wood and granite.

Large windows create strong visual connections between the interior and exterior of the building. Its roof structure is punctuated by three circular skylights designed to offer glimpses of the tree canopy outside.

Fashioned from its own surroundings

Extensive use of wood throughout the health centre as both a structural and finish material is central to the design—and a fitting choice given its idyllic setting. Both the roof and shear walls are built from CLT panels from locally harvested wood manufactured in BC. The CLT is left exposed and unfinished, conveying a sense of strength and stability and contributes to a high level of noise reduction between different program spaces.

Non-shear walls are finished in rough-sawn western red cedar, bringing the warmth of the material palette deep into the building. The exposed wood soffit presents a planar surface that floats above a continuous band of clerestory windows and curving granite walls.

The project incorporates a wide range of environmental design features, including natural ventilation, solar shading to optimize daylight and control heat gain, low-emitting finishes, a high-efficiency HVAC system with heat recovery, LED lighting and low flow plumbing fixtures.

“The use of wood was a natural choice when considering the programmatic requirements and site conditions which defined this project. The goal was to create a healing environment that leveraged the physical and psychological benefits of engaging with the natural world. Not only did the building achieve this by orienting itself to its densely forested context, but also by extensively integrating and expressing wood in its structure and finishes.”

Peter Johannknecht, Principal, Cascadia Architecture

Light-frame and post-and-beam construction feature predominantly in this late evening photo of the low rise Kitsumkalum Health Centre
Kitsumkalum Health Centre

Learn More
Exterior afternoon view of low rise Tla'Amin Community Health Services building showing extensive use of wood siding and decorative wood trim
Tla’amin Community Health Services

Learn More
Exterior evening view of YunesitIn Health Centre entrance showing expansive wood and glass use, including plank siding and Glue-laminated timber (Glulam) columns supporting the prefabricated wood roof trusses
Yunesit’in Health Centre

Learn More
A selection of mass timber products, including glue-laminated timber (Glulam), are showing in this interior view of Gateway Lodge Long Term Care facility
Wood and Human Health

Learn More
Douglas-fir glulam struts support the glulam and heavy timber canopy in the exterior view of the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Emergency Department
Wood as a Restorative Material in Healthcare Environments

Learn More
Exterior view of Surrey Memorial Hospital Critical Care Tower showing biophilic glulam arches that extend floor to ceiling, bringing warm stress-reducing tones to critical care patients.
Wood in Healthcare

Learn More
Close-up of green needles from Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), a versatile species of coniferous trees indigenous to British Columbia, and used for a wide variety of exterior and interior building applications.
Western red cedar

Western red cedar is a resilient and versatile species that can be used in a wide variety of exterior and interior building applications.

Learn More
Douglas-fir tree close up of tree at base of the trunk

Douglas-fir is a large tree, reaching 85 metres on BC’s coast and 42 metres in the Interior.

Learn More