Acton Ostry Architects Inc., Vancouver (CA)

At 18 storeys and 53 meters, Brock Commons Tallwood House is a 404-bed student residence located on The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC that opened in July 2017. Brock Commons aspires to be a model for a future that features extraordinarily ordinary mass wood buildings that are quick, clean and cost effective to construct and which maximize carbon sequestering and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The project is the first completed under the 2013 Tall Wood Building Demonstration Project Initiative sponsored by Natural Resources Canada.
Extraordinary for its height—Brock Commons is the world’s tallest contemporary mass wood hybrid tower—the building is also extraordinary for the speed at which its structure of glue laminated Douglas Fir columns, cross laminated timber Spruce-Pine-Fir floor panels, and prefabricated facade with 70% wood fiber cladding, went up in only 66 days. The CLT has two-way span capability to eliminate the need for load-carrying beams. At 2,233 cubic meters, the innovative LEED Gold target building utilizes an extraordinary amount of wood that stores an impressive 1,753 metric tons of carbon dioxide and avoids production of 679 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Another extraordinary achievement is the project demonstrates that a mass wood building can be comparable in cost to a traditional concrete building.


Client: University of British Columbia

Architectural design: Acton Ostry Architects Inc.

Structural design: Fast + Epp

Main contractor: Urban One Builders

Wooden components: glulam and parallam columns,cross laminated timber floor

Area: 15,115 m2

Wood species: Douglas, spruce

Purpose: student residence

Certification: Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council

Year completed: 2017

Photographer: Michael Elkan


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.