Brock Commons Tallwood House

September 2016

Completed in 2017, Brock Commons Tallwood House is an 18 storey, LEED Gold certified, 404-bed student residence building located at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Extraordinary for its height, making it the world’s tallest mass wood tower at the time of its completion, Tallwood House is also extraordinary for the speed the timber structure and prefabricated facade went up in only 66 days. At 2,233 cubic meters, the building utilizes an extraordinary amount of timber that stores an impressive 1,753 metric tons of carbon dioxide and avoids production of 679 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Key to receiving approvals and achieving economic viability was a “keep it simple” design approach that makes the building appear ordinary—extraordinarily ordinary—through encapsulation of the wood structure with gypsum board.

A prefabricated facade, arranged in a pattern of vertical striations, features pre-installed windows and cladding consisting of 70 per cent wood fibers. A metal cornice crowns the building. A CLT canopy runs the length of a curtain wall base, which reveals the warm wood finishes of amenity spaces within. Elevator lobbies are clad with the same material as the exterior. Hallway finishes include natural wood doors and a palette of rich umber and ochre accent finishes. Living unit interiors are bright white, spare and simple. The quintessential west coast ocean and mountain views are spectacular.

– overview: Brock Commons Tallwood House – Chapter 1: Overview
– podcasts: Future of Structures  World Architecture News
– articles: ADF Magazine SAB Magazine Canadian Architect  Fire Fighting in Canada
– technical: naturally:wood Canadian Wood Council virtual tour



International Prize for Wood Architecture
Lieutenant Governor of BC Award
Sustainable Architecture & Building Green Award
Canadian Wood Council Wood Works Architect Award
Canadian Wood Council Wood Works Innovation Award
Canadian Wood Council Wood Works Engineer Award
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Award Finalist
Lieutenant Governor of BC Engineering Excellence Award
Vancouver Regional Construction Association Award


Premier’s Innovation & Excellence Award
Canadian Wood Council Special Jury Award
Institution of Structural Engineers Innovation Award
NCSEA Excellence in Structural Engineering Award
Construction Dive Five Favourite Projects of the Year
Fast Company Innovation by Design Finalist