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PROJECT REPORT: EDUCATION & RESEARCH FACILITIES


39


columns. The only other exposed timber, hinting at the building’s true nature, is a 58 metre CLT canopy. Acton comments: “As soon as you expose mass wood, the costs go way up. The additional volume of wood to use char for fire protection is extraordinarily expensive, even more so when you factor in the cost of co-ordinating services.”


He says candidly that establishing the cost from other projects was tricky: “I found it very difficult to find other architects and developers around the world sharing their information. Almost no-one wants to say what it costs, because it’s very expensive. I believe exposed mass wood is at a minimum twice as expensive as encapsulated.” Interestingly, due to the nature of Canadian


CLT, it was 29 mm thicker than it needed to be from a structural point of view, however there still wouldn’t have been enough spare to provide exposed timber – “for each hour of char you need about 40 mm of wood,” says Acton. He adds that if timber had been exposed throughout, two inches would have needed to be added to every floor, “we wouldn’t have been able to get the 17th floor of timber in.” The building would also have needed to be a module wider. Wind loading “was a consideration, but


ADF MARCH 2018


mainly due to the seaside location and concerns for potential sway at uppermost storeys,” he says. However standard modelling did not throw up “anything remarkable enough to warrant extensive investigation and design allowances.”


Exterior and interior


With the offsite panel construction providing tight tolerances, high levels of air-tightness were achieved. Panels are steel stud framed and measure 8 metres wide x 2.65 metres high, forming the entire wall of two studios. Performing similarly to curtain wall, they arrived on site with two windows pre-installed. Additional insulation was inserted after installation, as well as a vapour barrier and drywall finish. The building is clad with Trespa panels – “an interesting material as it’s made from 70 per cent wood fibre and resins, so it’s a durable but environmental solution that’s suitable for a high-rise application,” comments Acton. The panels have an appearance similar to timber, and with none arriving broken on site, the substantial surplus was used to clad all lift lobbies. Corner windows “help to dematerialise the mass of the building,” and a metal cornice on the roof echoes 1960s modernist buildings on the campus.


All images © Acton Ostry Architects Inc. & University of British Columbia.


Photographer: Michael Elkan Photography


PROJECT FACTFILE: BROCK COMMONS TALLWOOD HOUSE


Timber source: British Columbia Glulam and CLT supplied by: Structurlam Volume of wood used: 2233 m3


Carbon stored: 1753 tonnes of CO2 Greenhouse emissions avoided:


679 tonnes of CO2 Total potential carbon benefit:


2432 tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to 511 cars off the road for a year) Sustainability rating: LEED Gold Number of student beds: 404


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