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One of the tallest wood buildings in the world will soon be constructed at UBC, providing housing for hundreds of students. When completed, the $51.5-million residence building will stand 53 metres tall (about 174 feet).

“This beautiful, new tall wood building will serve as a living laboratory for the UBC community,” said Martha Piper, interim president. “It will advance the university’s reputation as a hub of sustainable and innovative design, and provide our students with much-needed on-campus housing.”

Construction of the 18-storey tall wood student residence will begin later this fall, and the building is set to open in September 2017. It will house 404 students in 272 studios and 33 four-bedroom units, and feature study and social gathering spaces. There will also be a ground-floor lounge and study space for commuter students.

“This project shows that when it comes to building with wood, B.C.’s innovation can’t be beat,” said Steve Thomson, minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. “By taking advantage of new building technologies, we’re also expanding our markets for B.C. wood products – and supporting jobs in the forest sector.”

In addition to its primary function as a student residence, the building will serve as an academic site for students and researchers, who will be able to study and monitor its operations.

The tall wood building will consist of a mass timber superstructure atop a concrete base. Wood is a sustainable and versatile building material that stores, rather than emits, carbon dioxide. UBC aims for the building to achieve a minimum LEED Gold certification, a rating system that evaluates how environmentally friendly a structure is in its design and energy use.

UBC’s Student Housing and Hospitality Services, the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, Forestry Innovation Investment, Natural Resources Canada and B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations are contributing funding for the building.

Any additional costs related to design and construction have been funded through external sources. Students will pay the same for rent at the tall wood building compared to similar accommodations at other student residences on campus.

UBC Properties Trust is managing the project. The project’s architect, Vancouver’s Acton Ostry Architects, is working in collaboration with tall wood advisor Architekten Hermann Kaufmann from Austria. Fast + Epp, another local firm, is the structural engineer.

event date

Thursday, October 1, 2015