Michael Green is building North America's tallest wood building in Prince George, BC

widc rendering
© Michael Green Architecture

Wood is arguably the greenest building material; it is renewable and sequesters carbon for the life of the building. Vancouver architect Michael Green has been working with wood for a while. He told TreeHugger in an interview last year: "The Earth grows our food; The earth can grow our homes. It's an ethical change that we have to go through."

Now he gets to demonstrate it with the Wood Innovation Design Centre (WIDC) in Prince George, British Columbia. Designboom explains:

WIDC 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.

The building is six storeys high because that is what the British Columbia building code permits, but the floor to floor heights have been pumped up to make it as tall as a nine-storey building and ensure that it is the tallest on the continent.

Unlike most of the Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) towers that use load-bearing panels, the WIDC uses a post-and-beam structure of glulam (glue-laminated), with floor panels of Mass Timber Panels (MTP), a catch-all term for engineered wood that could be any of CLT, Glulam or Structural Composite Lumber (SCL). This makes sense for office buildings, where one wants open space and more glass.

Needless to say, the concrete industry is outraged that the British Columbia government promotes wood construction and actually passed legislation that requires “the use of wood as the primary building material in all new provincially funded buildings”. Too bad; this is the future of construction.

More images to come.

Michael Green is building North America's tallest wood building in Prince George, BC
The 90 foot tall building is just the start of something big, as wood mid-rise construction gets a foothold.

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