Building of the Month – The Heights

Photos courtesy of Cornerstone Architecture

Project Overview

The Heights is a six-storey mixed-use building in the rapidly evolving Vancouver Heights neighbourhood. The 5,600 square metre building includes a basement parking garage, street level retail and five storeys of apartments above, with a total of 85 suites. The parking and retail space are constructed in concrete, while the five storeys of residential accommodation are of wood-frame construction.

In addition to being the most economical construction material for this size and type of building, wood lends itself to Passive House construction. On completion, The Heights was the largest Passive House certified building in Canada and demonstrates the adaptability of traditional wood-frame construction to a new generation of high performance buildings.

Wood Use

The building is constructed with conventional 2x6 exterior walls; interior load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls, wood I-joist floors and plywood sheathing and decking. The only non-standard aspect of construction is the secondary 2x4 wall that parallels the exterior walls. The elevator shaft is constructed in concrete on the retail/parking level, transitioning into nail-laminated timber (NLT) where the wood frame construction begins.

The Heights is aiming to be one of Canada’s most energy efficient new buildings through super insulation and greatly improved air tightness. Wood lends itself well to super insulated structures as wood itself is an insulator. Wood also lends itself to very airtight buildings as sheet goods (plywood, OSB) can be taped to function as a simple and effective air barrier.

Chris Higgins, Green Building Planner City of Vancouver

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