Architecture

World's tallest wooden residential tower nears completion

World's tallest wooden residen...
Brock Commons is designed to attain LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) once complete
Brock Commons is designed to attain LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) once complete
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Brock Commons is designed to attain LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) once complete
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Brock Commons is designed to attain LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) once complete
The wooden structure was constructed in a mere 66 days
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The wooden structure was constructed in a mere 66 days
Due to contain a total of 33 four-bed units and 272 studios spread over 18 floors, Brock Commons will house 404 students
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Due to contain a total of 33 four-bed units and 272 studios spread over 18 floors, Brock Commons will house 404 students
Brock Commons is now expected to be completed by May, 2017, rather than the originally planned September
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Brock Commons is now expected to be completed by May, 2017, rather than the originally planned September
Structurally, the tower comprises a mass timber superstructure and concrete base and stairwells
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Structurally, the tower comprises a mass timber superstructure and concrete base and stairwells

Brock Commons is not your average student residence. Rising to a height of 53 m (174 ft) above the campus of the University of British Columbia in Canada, it's the world's tallest wooden residential tower – and it recently topped out several months ahead of schedule.

The cutting-edge student digs will contain 33 four-bed units and 272 studios spread over 18 floors, housing a total of 404 residents. Structurally, it comprises 16 floors of five-ply cross laminated timber (CLT) floor panels, a steel-framed roof, and concrete sections, including a base and stairwells.

The building's attractive facade consists of prefabricated panels which have the windows pre-installed. The panels are a high-pressure laminate cladding which contain 70 percent wood-based fibers, with steel stud framed sections.

It rose remarkably quickly. After managing a single floor in the first week, the project then hurried along at a rate of two or more floors each week, with the entire wooden structure (not including the concrete sections or steel roof) finished in a mere 66 days.

Brock Commons is now expected to be completed by May, 2017, rather than the originally planned September
Brock Commons is now expected to be completed by May, 2017, rather than the originally planned September

Brock Commons is designed to attain the LEED Gold certification green building standard once it's complete. This is going to happen sooner than expected – Acton Ostry Architects' Russell Acton told us that the tower is now slated for completion in May, 2017, four months ahead of schedule.

Work installing the steel roof structure is currently ongoing, and should be finished in a few weeks.

Sources: Acton Ostry, Fast+Epp via Treehugger

9 comments
VincentWolf
A future towering inferno. Wood burns people!
habakak
I would assume the wood is treated to not burn readily. It seems to make construction a lot easier (and faster). I doubt this would be reflected in the price much. And how about maintenance? Wood just does not stand up to the elements. Concrete and brick buildings does not need to be re-sided or majorly maintained every 20 years (and much more often for wood shingles/siding - it needs painting every 5 to 7 years). Wood. That inferior material.
ezeflyer
I should do well in earthquakes.
rpark
...cement stairwells, good design in the event of fire so building can be safely evacuated while sprinkler system is activated.
Noel K Frothingham
Given that the wood panels are laminated (think resin-encapsulated wood fibers, not bare wood stick-built commonly used, the fire hazard can be significantly reduced. Fire-rated sheetrock is required in many- if not all - localities. habakak doesn't think that wood structures can stand up to the elements, and up to a point, he's right if he is speaking about plain ol' untreated lumber . Again, the wood being used is in the form of laminated panels. It was 111 degrees out today. We had two solid weeks of 115 in August and a couple 123 days in June and July. My stucco covered stick-built tile-roofed home is 20 years old and handles the heat extremes quite nicely. He mentions wood shakes and shingles and their constant need of maintenance. There's a reason cement board siding and roof shingles were developed. Of course wood has its limitations. All building materials do. Again, the wood being used in this project is not SPF (spruce, pine, fir) whitewood 2x4's.
999 HOT
What could possibly go wrong?.... Oh, wait... http://m.building.co.uk/3084886.article?mobilesite=enabled
StuartFrancis
Tall wooden structures like this are fire traps, in my opinion. Students will live here - cigarette smoking, iron-plugged-in, partying students. Doesn't anybody remember the great Chicago Fire? How many times have buildings like this gone up in flames during construction? Hard to beat steel, glass and concrete in high rises. Of course the wood lobby would disagree.
Joe Blough
Nothing but kindling.
Joe Blough
Boat builders have known for hundreds of years about what wood really is. It is FOOD waiting to rot, mildew, be eaten by termites, and more. Replace the W in wood with an F and you end up with food. And this isn't even discussing its flammability. Is is good for earthquake proof buildings. The chinese almost 2000 years ago built large log buildings with sloppy joints instead of rigid ones on the corners etc. During an earthquake the building shook a little on the joints but stayed together and survived. Somewhere along the milleniums, people lost knowledge of this and started piling up stones for buildings. How did that work out?