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Design revealed: 18-storey UBC residence to be world’s tallest wooden building

We came across this Vancity Buzz post that details the University of British Columbia’s plan to construct an 18-storey student residence to help alleviate its on-campus student housing demand. The building will be constructed primarily out of wood, with some concrete components for lateral stability and safety approval. When complete in 2017, it will be the tallest mass timber building in the world. Take a look at the following article for details of this new high-rise construction method.

A new student residence building at the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus will become a living experiment as part of an effort to demonstrate the economic and structural feasibility of wood-based construction.

But the building will not be entirely wood: The building’s hybrid structural system of a one-storey concrete podium on the main floor and two vertical concrete cores that reach the rooftop level. According to the architects, the timber structure will carry the vertical load and the concrete cores, containing the exit stairs and elevators, will provide the structure with lateral stability.

“Although construction of the first floor and cores could technically be constructed utilizing mass timber, concrete was used in the interest of familiarity regarding life safety, fire fighting, ad approvals processes,” reads the architect’s building description.

One of the main concerns over a tall wood structure remains with fire safety, even thought timber is a safer material than steel given that charred wooden surfaces protect the sturctural wood underneath. In contrast, steel sturctures are weakest at the points of where it supports a post.

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