University of British Columbia CK Choi Building




28,017 sq. m.




Matsuzaki Wright Architects

Project Owner

University of British Columbia

Structural Engineer

RJC Consulting Engineers

Construction Manager

Country West Construction Ltd.

Project Materials

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)

Solid-sawn heavy timber


Structural Systems

Project Overview

Home to the Institute of Asian Studies, the C.K. Choi Building for the Institute of Asian Research predates the widespread use of green building rating systems. It is the University of British Columbia’s first green building, demonstrating sustainability practices such as diverting nearly 95 percent of the construction waste from the landfill and using reclaimed materials. The unusual shape of the building is the result of the size limitations of the salvaged wood used for the structural framing members and site constraints, specifically, efforts to preserve an existing grove of trees on the majority of the site. The C.K. Choi building was designed and detailed for a 200-year expected building life, with a flexible interior design to accommodate change over time.

Wood Use

Seventy percent of the structural framing in C.K. Choi is made from Douglas-fir roof trusses salvaged from the 1940s Armoury building that was demolished in the early 1990s. Each timber piece was visually graded and inventoried by size, length, species, and assigned to locations in the new structural system. Used strategically throughout the project, glue-laminated (glulam) beams and columns supplement the timber framing members; most notably as the structural support to the custom shaped curved atrium roofs.