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This presentation will discuss the design of the 2150 Keith Drive a 164,000 sq ft, 10-storey mass timber office building that will be built in Vancouver’s False Creek Flats area. The lead tenant for Keith Drive will be Nature’s Path, a Vancouver-based producer of organic food. The company is an industry leader in organic food development, farming innovation, and sustainable food production, and this new office building is envisioned as an extension of its sustainability mandate.

Mass timber is the material of choice for Keith Drive because it ties into Nature’s Path’s commitment to natural, renewable resources, but also because it is aesthetically pleasing, flexible, highly functional, sequesters carbon, and supports the local lumber industry. The design team was inspired to push the boundaries of mass timber commercial office building designs with this project, and in the end delivered an innovative design that boasts larger floor plates, taller floor-to-floor heights, and greater column spacing than typically found in this building type.

The presentation will focus on tall wood innovation as an opportunity to elevate mass timber design and construction, and demonstrate what is possible under new regional and national building code regulations that allow for 12-storey wood buildings. This building will, in fact, be unlike anything else when it is complete. Keith Drive will be the tallest timber seismic force-resisting building in North America, at 45 m / 147 ft. That feat will be made possible in part thanks to Tectonus structural connections, which will allow the building to self-centre after an earthquake.

The extensive use of engineered wood products will define both the interior and exterior character of the building. The glulam timber perimeter-braced structural system creates a striking expression of the building from the exterior, and eliminates the need for conventional cast-in-place concrete cores. These braces, along with a series of cross-laminated timber shear walls in the interior, will resist wind and seismic loads. Extensive destructive testing has been conducted to ensure the mass timber structure will be able to withstand projected seismic forces. Inside the building, the project team worked hard to maximize both the aesthetic and functional benefits of engineered wood. An exposed wooden structure will show off the natural beauty of the material, as well as meet a two-hour fire rating code requirement – without having to be encapsulated by gypsum (drywall), as was the case in many first-generation tall wood buildings.


PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication will present on their design and completion of UBC Okanagan’s Skeena Residence, the first on-campus residence built to Passive House standard in Canada. In this discussion, Brian Wakelin and Jamie Harte will share lessons learned about why conventional wood framing is best suited to Passive House projects from a strategic and tactical perspective. In particular it offers:

  • Industry familiarity and competitive pricing compared with other structural systems
  • Flexibility to accommodate atypical service sizes
  • Simplified window installation
  • Improved structural durability when combined with Passive House envelope
  • And resilient detailing to manage thermal bridging compared with other structural systems.