Three distinct timber structural systems are used for the atrium, galleria and facade of this combined shopping centre, commercial office space and university, giving warmth and expression to an otherwise concrete, steel and glass building.
The atrium roof features a geometric wood space frame constructed from 3,700 Douglas-fir peeler cores—making full use of a by-product of the plywood industry. Varying clusters of Douglas-fir logs, turned and tapered, branch from reinforced concrete columns. Upon entering the building, visitors’ eyes are immediately drawn to the atrium’s expressive web of 3-D timber, reminiscent of a child’s Tinkertoy construction set. Large parallel strand lumber mullion columns support the atrium’s lower glazing as well as the concrete canopy above it, something unique in a facade so large and complex. The 2,200-square-metre galleria roof—a freeform skeletal structure consisting of twenty individual 3-D composite timber-and-steel cable trusses—covers a serpentine-shaped, five-storey-high vaulted space.