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First look: North America's tallest wooden building

Mixed-use structure will promote local lumber economy while providing program space for higher ed.

April 30, 2013 |
 Michael Green Architecture

Long-time champions of timber construction and Canadian practice Michael Green Architecture will soon break ground on North America's tallest wooden building. Standing at 27.5 meters, the Wood Innovation Design Center (WIDC), Prince George, British Columbia, will exhibit wood as a sustainable building material widely available around the globe, and aims to improve the local lumber economy while standing as a testament to new construction possibilities.

The structure will contain a mezzanine level, classrooms, offices, and a public gallery on the ground floor dedicated to the palpable experience of wood, lounges, and a rooftop deck. Owned by the state, the project will also house the University of Northern British Columbia’s Masters of Engineering program, in addition to private office and public spaces.

The structure will be made almost entirely of wood, save for metal connections and a concrete foundation. Even the elevator core, which is traditionally made in concrete, will be made of thick timber panels whose density and size afford the appropriate fire-rating characteristics. The framing system allows for a greater façade transparency, accepting natural light and extending views with a low-emissivity glass skin and opaque timber screens that help control solar gain. Floor and ceiling slabs will be composed of mass timber panels (MTP) that provide lateral stability in addition to eliminating the need for surface finishes, and provide for many new design opportunities for future wood constructs.

Video walk-through:!



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