In small towns and remote communities throughout British Columbia, local residents are using sustainably harvested B.C. wood to build arts, cultural and community centres — places where people can play, gather and access services.
Many communities founded on forestry are returning to their roots by constructing landmark buildings and community amenities with local wood products and using local expertise, labour and manufacturers.
On the East Coast of central Vancouver Island, École au-cœur-de-l’île is a modern school by day and a hub for the local Francophone community at night. Sustainably harvested wood is used in McFarland Marceau Architects’ plan throughout the building. Interior spaces use exposed glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams and mass timber panels to form unique reading alcove and multi-purpose spaces. The nearly 3,000-square-metre roof is made of timber. Reclaimed Douglas-fir from the site’s previous building was used to create a 7.5-metre glazing wall, with more salvage wood used as benches and display cabinets.
Drawing on Vancouver Island’s forestry origins, the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena’s revitalization was built in part with 15 truckloads of wood products donated by local logging companies and distributors. The heavy-timber hybrid structure, located west of Duncan, features glulam beams with solid-wood decking and exterior tongue-and-groove western red cedar cladding. A dramatic entrance leads inside where birch-plywood millwork is featured. Designed by HDR | CEI Architecture Associates Inc., the arena includes warm viewing areas, multi-purpose rooms, and dressing rooms tailored to local curling and hockey teams.
Located in Hazelton, the Upper Skeena Recreation Centre is a practical and beautiful structure that was made possible through grassroots community involvement. Designed by Hemsworth Architecture, the centre replaces the community’s former arena. It has an NHL-sized ice rink with seating for 500, a gymnasium and areas for community programs. The exposed wood roof, supported by glulam beams and columns, is an economical framing solution. Simplified construction methods for the roof and exterior walls, which are made with plywood and dimension lumber, deliver added cost savings. The wood wall and roof panels were prefabricated by local workers and then dropped into place, speeding up construction.
All levels of government in British Columbia (B.C.) are leading by example, showcasing what’s possible with wood construction and demonstrating the importance of sustainable building. Through its Wood First Act, the province of B.C. encourages public institutions to consider using wood in construction where appropriate. Since the act was introduced about a decade ago, more […]
Many communities in British Columbia founded on forestry are increasingly returning to their roots by constructing landmark buildings with local wood products, using local expertise, labour, and manufacturers. Learn how B.C. communities are growing strong with wood.
The newly updated 812-page CLT Handbook is the essential how-to resource for Canadian building professionals interested in construction and design using cross-laminated timber (CLT). The free e-copy is now available for download.
A First Nations forester is combining traditional knowledge with new technologies, such as light detection and ranging (LiDAR), for wiser resource management. Discover how Indigenous forestry initiatives can help the future sustainability of our working forests.
An increasing number of health-care facilities are incorporating wood to provide patients and visitors with a warm, natural aesthetic, and a calm, stress-reducing connection to nature.
Research begins to show the biophilic benefits of wood, which suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Study results show students who spent time in rooms featuring natural wood exhibited lower stress reactivity. During all three periods of the study, stress, as measured by sympathetic nervous system activation, was measurably lower on average in the rooms featuring wood than in the non-wood office.
The bold, striking use of wood throughout the space — uncommon in such health-care settings— softens the hospital’s institutional feel and creates a calm, stress-reducing connection to nature, while standing up to weather, wear and tear, and rigorous maintenance. As the research on biophilic benefits of wood continues to grow, one of B.C.’s busiest hospitals leads the way in offering patients a comforting, supportive, and healing environment.
For architect and timber advocate Peter Busby, wood is one of nature’s greatest innovations
B.C. forest products are a predominant structural and finishing material for a wide range of transit infrastructure throughout the province, including airports, bus exchanges and SkyTrain stations. Learn more about the use of wood in transportation projects.
Learn about the latest wood design and construction trends within these four building applications while earning Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) recognized continuing learning units towards professional development.
With its wide-ranging use of different wood species, the Prince George Airport demonstrates how a high-traffic building can benefit from the resilience, versatility, durability, and thermal characteristics of wood. These were important considerations for this northern city, situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, which is prone to cold, harsh winters.
An effective insulator with a warm aesthetic, wood is particularly well suited to the demanding atmospheres of swimming pools — as well as ice rinks in arenas. Wood tolerates high levels of humidity, offers acoustic and thermal benefits, and absorbs and releases water vapour without compromising its structural integrity. Indoor pool design has evolved to include ample use of natural light and bold, innovative uses of B.C. wood from sustainably managed forests.
Interview with Darryl Condon, Managing Principal of HCMA Architecture + Design, who has embraced and often pioneered the use of wood and mass timber in community, civic, and recreational aquatic facilities throughout British Columbia and Canada. He shares why wood is often an integral material in the buildings they design, and how they’ve pushed the boundaries of what is possible with wood.
Located in John Hendry Park in east Vancouver, this ice rink was the first phase in the replacement of an aging community centre facility. The rink served as a practice facility for competitors who participated in the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and opened for public use after the Games.