Vancouver wood building would be world’s tallest

Friday 21 Jun 2019

If plans are hammered into reality, Vancouver’s Broadway corridor will see the world’s tallest wood residential tower and the largest Passive House project in the world ascend on West 8th Avenue over the next two to three years.

Delta Land Development, working with Peter Busby of the architectural firm of Perkins+Will, has outlined a proposal for a mixed-use building that, if approved, would catapult Vancouver’s aggressive green building standards ahead by nearly a decade.

British Columbia recently approved mass timber buildings as high as 12 storeys, but Delta’s senior vice-president believes the Canada Earth Tower could win approval to push much higher.

“There are no major roadblocks to going higher than 12 storeys,” said Kirk Robinson, who added that the City of Vancouver appears on board with the proposal, “subject to a whole bunch of reviews.” He said the building would stand 30 to 40 storeys high at 1745 West Broadway, currently the site of a bunker-like bank processing facility.

The tower would use B.C. manufactured and processed mass timber, as well as engineered wood such as cross-laminated, glue-laminated and dowel-laminated timber. It would be designed for maximum fire and structural safety, architects say, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Reinforced concrete would still be required for the elevator cores, stairway silos and foundation of the proposed tower, said Derek Newby, an associate architect at Perkins+Will. Because of the carbon sequestered in mass timber, Robinson said, the Canada Earth Tower could easily meet the City of Vancouver’s plan for all new buildings to be low carbon producers by 2030.

On April 16, the city released a “climate emergency response” proposal that calls for new buildings to reduce carbon emissions by 40% from 2018 levels by 2030 and “remove regulatory barriers to mass timber construction.” Vancouver is considered a world leader in tall wood buildings. The 18-storey Brock Commons tower at UBC was the tallest wood building in the world when it was completed in 2017.

Photo: Canada Earth Tower: world’s tallest wood tower planned for Vancouver would also include rigorous green technology, Perkins+Will


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