Architecture

Work begins on world's tallest wooden residential tower

Work begins on world's tallest...
The residential tower will have a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft) and be home to University of British Columbia students
The residential tower will have a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft) and be home to University of British Columbia students
View 8 Images
The residential tower will rise to a height of 53 m (174 ft)
1/8
The residential tower will rise to a height of 53 m (174 ft)
The building will comprise a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft) and will house upper year and graduate students
2/8
The building will comprise a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft) and will house upper year and graduate students
Study and social areas will be located on the ground floor, and a student lounge will be situated on the uppermost floor
3/8
Study and social areas will be located on the ground floor, and a student lounge will be situated on the uppermost floor
Visually, the building was required to reflect UBC's International Modernist architectural style
4/8
Visually, the building was required to reflect UBC's International Modernist architectural style
Structurally, the tower consists of a mass timber superstructure atop a concrete base, while each floor is built from five CLT panels
5/8
Structurally, the tower consists of a mass timber superstructure atop a concrete base, while each floor is built from five CLT panels
The residential tower will have a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft) and be home to University of British Columbia students
6/8
The residential tower will have a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft) and be home to University of British Columbia students
Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building
7/8
Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building
Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building
8/8
Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building

Construction recently began on some innovative new student digs for Canada's University of British Columbia. Designed by Acton Ostry Architects, the Tall Wood Building will be home to 404 students and rise to 18 floors, making it the tallest wooden residential tower in the world on completion in 2017.

The timber tower will rise to a height of 53 m (174 ft) and have a total floorspace of 15,115 sq m (162,700 sq ft). It's unlikely to boast world's tallest bragging rights for long however, as a glut of proposed tall timber residential towers have recently been proposed, including the far taller 35-story Baobab, by MGA.

Housing upper year and graduate students, Tall Wood Building's interior will feature 33 four-bed units and 272 studios. Study and social areas will be located on the ground floor, and the uppermost floor will feature a student lounge.

Visually, the tower's design reflects the International Modernist style of UBC's existing buildings as required by planning regulations, and its facade will sport white and charcoal-colored prefabricated metal panels.

Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building
Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building

The building comprises a mass timber superstructure and concrete base and each floor has a total of five cross laminated timber (CLT) panels. For further reading on CLT panels and the benefits and drawbacks of mass timber construction, check out our article on wooden skyscrapers.

Notwithstanding the excellent fire performance of heavy mass wood, fire-safety is always a contentious issue with timber towers. Acton Ostry Architects aims to allay concerns with an automatic sprinkler system and some concrete reinforcement in the stairwells. In addition, the firm says that the tower's layout of highly-compartmentalized small rooms should help limit the spread of a potential fire.

Acton Ostry Architects is aiming for LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) for the building.

Sources: UBC, Acton Ostry Architects

5 comments
habakak
Uggggggh. Those creaky floors. Wood. That inferior material.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I see a pattern of reinforced concrete buildings being replaced with wood.
Derek Howe
Wood is a great plentiful building material...but when it comes to buildings higher then a few stories...no thanks.
Nik
404 Students? Not Found. lol. The Chinese have built enormous pagodas entirely of wood, which have lasted far longer than any steel and concrete buildings. The oldest is Pagoda of Fogong Temple, and reaches a total height of 67.31 m (220.83 ft) tall; taller than projected height of this tower, although the first 4 m (13 ft) is a stone platform, the timber section is still greater. It is approaching 1000 years old, and has survived several large earthquakes, more than can be said of hundreds of steel and concrete structures. Perhaps the architects of the Tall Wood Building would do well to inspect the pagoda, and learn some of its techniques of stability and longevity.
Fairly Reasoner
Chicago Fire