UBC approves 18-storey residential tower made of wood

Once the building is completed in two years, it would be the tallest wood structure of its kind in the world. The $51.5-million dollar project would house 404 upper-year and graduate students.

“The project will provide an opportunity to demonstrate the use of a sustainable, locally relevant construction material in a high-rise building,” said a report to the university’s board of governors.

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Called the Tall Wood Residence, it won’t be entirely made out of wood. The first floor will be concrete, but the 17 floors rising above will be made out of wood. It will have two 18-storey concrete cores with elevator shafts and stairs.

The building is expected to be completed by 2017. UBC’s student tower would be 53 metres tall. The tallest wood residential building in the world is the Forte Tower in Melbourne, Australia, at 10 storeys or 32 metres. In Bergen, Norway, a 14-storey apartment building called The Tree is under construction. Once finished, it will hold the record for the tallest residential tower at 49 metres.

In North America, the tallest wood building is the six-storey Wood Innovation & Design Centre in Prince George.

Vancouver architect Michael Green has proposed to build a 35-storey mixed- use tower in Paris. Green, an advocate for building towers out of wood, has said building with wood means building with sustainable and renewable materials.

The Tall Wood Student Residence project architect is Vancouver’s Acton Ostry Architects working in collaboration with Austria’s Architekten Hermann Kaufmann, which is advising on the use of tall wood.

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