flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Shigeru Ban’s mass timber tower in Vancouver gets city approval

Multifamily Housing

Shigeru Ban’s mass timber tower in Vancouver gets city approval

The 232-foot-tall Terrace House luxury condo development will be the tallest hybrid wood structure in North America.

By PortLiving | January 4, 2018
The 232-foot-tall Terrace House luxury condo development will be the tallest hybrid wood structure in North America.

The project received official approval to use exposed mass timber in the top seven stories of the 19-story building. Renderings: PortLiving

Terrace House, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban, with its highest point sitting at 232 feet above ground level, has received official approval to use exposed mass timber in the top seven stories of the 19-story building, according to the project’s developer, PortLiving.

The issuance of the building permit required approval of an “Alternative Solution” to demonstrate compliance with Vancouver’s building code, thereby allowing the use of mass timber in the construction of a high-rise building. This approval from the Chief Building Official’s Office makes Terrace House the tallest hybrid wood structure approved for construction in North America. 

Prior to the official approval of Terrace House, the use of exposed mass timber in a hybrid wood structure of this height had never been permitted in either Canada or the U.S. While there has been much discussion of the environmental benefits of tall mass timber buildings, few exceeding six stories have been permitted or constructed. 

The recently completed Brock Commons, an 18-story student residence at the University of British Columbia, was permitted only as an exception to the B.C. building code, and the acceptance was based in part on covering all the timber with fire-rated gypsum wallboard.



The approval is a milestone for Terrace House and the city of Vancouver. It was achieved through a process of performance-based fire and structural engineering tests supported by analysis of fire risks, including risk of fire after earthquake. Tests demonstrated to the city and the expert peer reviewers that this hybrid mass timber building is as safe as a conventional concrete or steel high-rise. 

According to the Vancouver Sun, the new building has been designed as a tribute to its neighbor, Arthur Erickson’s Evergreen building. Triangular shapes, natural materials, and terraces are used to connect the two designs. Additionally, Cornelia Oberlander, the landscape architect who worked on the Evergreen building, was contracted to work on the Terrace House project.

Shigeru Ban’s design maximizes natural light and creates cohesive indoor/outdoor environments. The project holds one of the most intricate glass systems in the world, where large enclosed terraces equipped with electronic motorized glass-sliding panels retract to create an outdoor terrace. The timber construction of Terrace House will be visible from the exterior through low-e glass.

The interior design, also conceptualized by Ban, will create a sense of serenity and sophistication through the integration of natural materials, including oak and marble, coupled with state-of-the-art lighting and smart-home technology. Terrace House holds only 20 homes, many of which will occupy an entire level within the building. Prices start at $3 million.



Related Stories

Multifamily Housing | Aug 3, 2022

7 tips for designing fitness studios in multifamily housing developments

Cortland’s Karl Smith, aka “Dr Fitness,” offers advice on how to design and operate new and renovated gyms in apartment communities.

Multifamily Housing | Aug 3, 2022

Call for Senior Living and Student Housing projects for "MULTIFAMILY Design+Construction" Fall issue

Fall 2022 issue of MULTIFAMILY Design+Construction will have reports on Senior Living and Student Housing.

Multifamily Housing | Jul 28, 2022

GM working to make EV charging accessible to multifamily residents

General Motors, envisioning a future where electric vehicles will be commonplace, is working to boost charging infrastructure for those who live in multifamily residences.

Multifamily Housing | Jul 26, 2022

All-electric buildings – great! But where's all that energy going to be stored?

There's a call for all-electric buildings, but can we generate and store enough electricity to meet that need?

Green | Jul 26, 2022

Climate tech startup BlocPower looks to electrify, decarbonize the nation's buildings

The New York-based climate technology company electrifies and decarbonizes buildings—more than 1,200 of them so far.

Sponsored | Multifamily Housing | Jul 19, 2022

Engineering Solutions for a More Inclusive Community

Affordable housing complex uses engineered wood to keep construction costs low, tackle a public predicament and give rise to a stronger, more inclusive community.

Multifamily Housing | Jul 14, 2022

Multifamily rents rise again in June, Yardi Matrix reports

Average U.S. multifamily rents rose another $19 in June to edge over $1,700 for the first time ever, according to the latest Yardi® Matrix Multifamily Report.

Building Team | Jul 7, 2022

Amenity-rich rental property in Chicago includes seven-story atrium with vertical landscaping

The recently opened 198-unit Optima Lakeview luxury rental apartment building in Chicago is bursting with amenities such as the region’s first year-round rooftop pool, contact-free in-home package delivery, housekeeping services, on-site room service, fitness programming, and a virtual personal assistant.

Multifamily Housing | Jul 6, 2022

The power of contextual housing development

Creating urban villages and vibrant communities starts with a better understanding of place, writes LPA's Matthew Porreca. 

Green | Jun 22, 2022

The business case for passive house multifamily

A trio of Passive House experts talk about the true costs and benefits of passive house design and construction for multifamily projects. 

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021


Magazine Subscription

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.


Follow BD+C: