The provincial government announced Wednesday $4.2 million worth of investment in mass timber construction across B.C., including a rental tower by Westbank in Vancouver and affordable housing on the Downtown Eastside.

The province hopes the demonstration projects will help developers and urban planners adopt mass timber building systems by offsetting some of the first-time costs of design development, research, permitting and construction.

Research will examine the fire performance of mass timber, costs relative to steel and concrete, and carbon benefits, and will be shared with the public in an open source format.

In total, 12 Mass Timber Demonstration Program grants were awarded today, including $500,000 to Westbank to develop a 21-storey rental tower in Mount Pleasant that will help demonstrate the use of mass timber, concrete and steel in a taller building.

The tower, designed by Henriquez Partners Architects, will include 216 units and utilize cross-laminated timber (CLT). It’s tentatively called “Prototype.”

Streetscape rendering of Westbank’s upcoming mass timber residential tower. Credit: Henriquez Partners Architects

The design team of Prototype is exploring two possible mass timber hybrid systems: a post and platform system and a post, beam, and panel system.

The units will be targeted at moderate-income residents and the developer hopes the building will become a model for more affordable, eco-friendly housing solutions.

Close up rendering of Westbank's upcoming mass timber residential tower
Close up rendering of Westbank’s upcoming mass timber residential tower. Credit: Henriquez Partners Architects

Michael Green, architect at MGA and mass timber advisory council member, says B.C. is well positioned to be the world leader in sustainable design and construction innovations.

“I believe that mass timber will reshape our skylines with beautiful buildings that respond to the needs of our communities and planet.  We are proud of the initiatives of the Province and peers as we move new ideas forward together.”

Another notable Vancouver project receiving funding is at Main and Cordova in Downtown Eastside. Happy Harvest Inc. received $475,000 for the development of an 11-storey rental building, with eight storeys of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and steel structure, atop three storeys of concrete podium.

Proposed affordable rental building at Main and Cordova
Proposed affordable rental building at Main and Cordova. Credit: MA+HG Architects

The development will use cold-formed steel framing between cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panels. Prefabricated modules will deliver cost-effective and efficient construction. The building will have two storeys of shops, learning space and a community theatre space, topped with nine stories of affordable apartments. 

Unit sizes will include micro units, one, two and three bedrooms. Credit: MA+HG Architects

Reliance Properties was also awarded $500,000 for their upcoming renovation and addition to a historic Beatty Street warehouse on the edge of Yaletown. The four-storey, mass timber addition will add new office space to the neighbourhood.

837 Beatty redevelopment rendering laneway activation lights
Rendering of laneway running from Cambie Street to Beatty Street. Credit: office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers
837 Beatty redevelopment rendering
Rendering of new office space addition to 837 Beatty Street. Credit: office of mcfarlane biggar architects + designers

For more details on the projects, visit news.gov.bc.ca

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