This mass timber commercial/retail project explores new rapid onsite construction methods to build a vibrant modern marketplace for BC’s Okanagan Valley.
- A creative mix of retail, commercial and office spaces to house a unique mix of local commerce.
- Features nail-laminated timber (NLT) construction for the floor and roof panels supported by a glue-laminated timber (glulam) or parallel strand lumber (PSL) post-and-beam substructure.
- The project will meet Step Three of the BC Energy Step Code, the highest level attainable for this building type in the region.
A vibrant mixed-use commercial hub boosts revitalization
This four-storey mixed‐use industrial/retail/office building will help boost the revitalization of Kelowna’s north end of downtown. The Exchange envisions a vibrant marketplace—home to a diverse mix of makers who proudly put their products, services, and their process on display. This local market approach continues the tradition of the Kelowna Growers Exchange, a farmers’ co-op originally conceived in 1913 that quickly became a cornerstone to the region’s early economic growth. More than a century later, The Exchange aspires to be a creative commercial hub for the rapidly growing Okanagan Valley.
The open floor plan, weathered metal cladding and mass timber structure reflect the site’s surrounding industrial character. The building’s two primary retail and office functions are separately located with the retail space occupying the main floor and the office and amenity space located on the levels above. The double-height retail space on the main level provides tenant flexibility and offers a spacious retail environment with access to natural lighting throughout. The office spaces are served by a centrally located entrance and services core. The vaulted lobby offers a spacious and well-lit welcome for visitors as they make their way to the upper offices. A rooftop patio provides access to outdoor amenities and views of the surrounding valley.
Streamlining and modernizing a tried-and-true timber technology
The project will feature nail-laminated timber (NLT) construction for the floor and roof panels supported by a glue-laminated timber (glulam) or parallel strand lumber (PSL) post-and-beam substructure. As a demonstration project, the design team is keen to explore opportunities to streamline the assembly of the mass timber structure. This includes prefabrication on or near the building site without the use of a factory. The team will build mock‐ups of several panel configurations to test design and methodology. The intent is to prefabricate panels using local dimension lumber suppliers and available trades. This will help identify efficiencies in the construction process and mitigate supply chain risks.
On-site NLT Testing
In the Summer of 2021, Faction Projects conducted some testing that required the fabrication of NLT panels on-site to better understand how to streamline the NLT manufacturing process and to allow some load capacity testing. The team tested both flat and fluted layups—- the various combinations of board lengths that make up a full panel—- to see what would be the best solution for this project.
The project will meet Step Three of the BC Energy Step Code, the highest level attainable for this building type in the region. The project team also plans to use the project as a case study to help educate insurance and lending on mass timber.
The Mass Timber Demonstration Program (MTDP) provides funding for incremental costs in the design and construction of buildings that showcase emerging or new mass timber and mass timber hybrid building systems and construction processes. The program supports jobs and employment recovery in the design, engineering, construction, and product manufacturing sector. BC industry will benefit from lessons learned, results, and research findings that can help support future mass timber projects in the province. Learn more at masstimber.bc.ca.