Mass timber and light-frame construction come together in this first-of-its-kind residential development to break ground in the province’s capital. Sustainable design features, affordability, and a central location make the 247-unit development an attractive option to eco-conscious urbanites.
- A sustainable light-frame and mass timber design with ample exposed wood sets this condo project apart.
- Taller wood mass timber multifamily project, Tresah West, is the first-of-its-kind for Victoria.
- Light-frame wood multifamily project, Tresah East, offers rental options along with units for purchase.
Sustainable urban development in the heart of the capital
Tresah is a new timber-built urban residential development made up of two multifamily buildings, located in the Mayfair District of Victoria. The central location, part of the city’s future residential and commercial growth plan, gives residents easy access to the city’s amenities including shopping, transit, biking and walking trails, parks and green space.
Streamlining and modernizing a tried-and-true timber technology
Poor soil conditions—characterized by deep bedrock and clay—posed a considerable challenge for the site.
The solution—use mass timber and light-frame wood construction—a substantially lighter building system that would significantly cut foundation requirements. The foundation needed for a heavier conventional concrete structure would have been substantially greater when it comes to cost and materials, according to the developer.
The development includes two distinct buildings—Tresah West is a 12-storey taller wood building and Tresah East is a 6-storey light-frame wood structure. Together the two buildings offer a wide range of options from studios and lofts to one- and two-bedroom units.
The project received strong support from the City of Victoria recognizing the social, environmental, and economic benefits it would provide to the emerging neighbourhood. As a result, the project was granted a density bonus along with some relaxation on height and parking.
Tresah contributes to the Uptown-Douglas Plan to create a new midtown region—one that envisions taller high-density living, walkable neighbourhoods, and well-serviced rapid transit options.
Tresah West mass timber construction
Tresah West’s interiors will feature an exposed mass timber design—a glue-laminated timber (glulam) post-and-beam structure with cross-laminated timber (CLT) wood roof and ceilings. Wherever possible, the timber will be left exposed to maximize the visual warmth and beauty of the wood. The developer cites the benefits of mass timber as a central selling feature for the project including aesthetic beauty, improved indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lower energy costs, and an overall more sustainable design.
The building also includes a communal rooftop patio with an outdoor kitchen, al fresco dining, lounge areas, and expansive views of downtown Victoria and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. The lobby will feature two mass timber communal tables, a kitchenette, a library, and cafe-style seating.
This expansive roof terrace serves as an eco-friendly “park in the sky”. To shelter it from the wind, it includes a mass timber trellis and partial roof—a kind of large-scale garden pergola crowning the west building.
Tresah East light-frame wood construction
Tresah East’s light-frame wood construction maxes out the allowable height at 6-storeys. About 15 percent of the building will be set aside for affordable rentals with the remainder condos for purchase. Attention is given to making these units sustainable, energy-efficient homes with superior soundproofing and livability.
Timber offers practical benefits and fire performance
Prefabricated wood goes up like Lego, minimizing the construction time on-site, exposure to weather, and errors. It allows the developer to plan right away so we know the dimensions and everything—it significantly reduces waste and noise pollution on site.
The exterior panels for the project will also be prefabricated off-site, complete with windows and insulation installed, and essentially clipped onto the outside of the building. Even the balconies are prefabricated cubes easily bolted to the structure.
The developer estimates a 1,000 square-metre (10,000 square-foot) floor can be completed in roughly seven to eight days, while conventional construction would take up to a month.