UBC Brock Commons, Tallwood House

Market Sector

Education

Scope

Location

Size

162,800 sq.ft.

Stories

18

Status

Completed 2017

Owner

The University of British Columbia

Architect

Structural Engineer

General Contractor

Products

CLT and GLT: Manufactured by Mercer Mass Timber

Product Volume

-

About

The UBC Brock Commons Tallwood House, an 18-story tall wood building on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, stands at 174 feet, making it the world’s tallest wood structure at the time of its construction. It serves as a residence for 404 students, offering a mix of studio and quad units across its 162,800-square-foot expanse. The building includes 33 four-bedroom units, 272 studios, study spaces, lounges, and a lounge area exclusively on the top floor.

The building’s frame features prefabricated engineered timber from Mercer Mass Timber, with a primary structure of cross-laminated timber (CLT) floors supported by glue-laminated timber (GLT) columns. It incorporates 1,302 glulam columns and 464 CLT panels. Above ground, the structure comprises 5-ply CLT panels, connected to glulam columns with steel connectors to satisfy the seismic design requirements of the 2015 National Building Code. While primarily wood, the building also includes a concrete foundation, two concrete stair cores for lateral stability, and steel components, with the roof made of prefabricated steel beams and a metal deck.

The eco-conscious design leads to more than 2,432 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent savings, comparable to removing 511 cars from the road for a year. Additionally, the building aims for LEED Gold certification.

One of the hallmarks of this project was the speed of its construction. The mass timber structure was completed in just 66 days, roughly four months quicker than a conventional building of similar magnitude.

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