On the Move with B.C. Wood

Brentwood Town Centre Station, Burnaby, B.C. | Photo: Tae Ik Hwang

B.C. forest products are a predominant structural and finishing material for a wide range of transit infrastructure throughout the province.

Architect Peter Busby oversaw the Brentwood Town Centre Station in Burnaby, which he points to as an example of wood’s durability. The iconic SkyTrain station was the first in a series of innovative transit station designs.

The station on Metro Vancouver’s Millennium Line has stood the test of time.

“It’s now 17 years old, and the glulam and nail-laminated wood ceiling is in perfect condition. The steel has been repainted three times. So when somebody says wood won’t last, we take them out there and say, ‘Well, it lasts a lot longer than painted steel.’”

Peter Busby, Managing Director, Perkins and Will

The station’s sleek, canoe-like design has two curved nail-laminated timber canopies, supported by glue-laminated (glulam) timber ribs. The SkyTrain station is a forerunner to other stations Perkins and Will designed that incorporate wood, including Canada Line stations Richmond Brighouse, Aberdeen, and Landsdowne.

United by similarities in structure, glazing, and roof elements, these three stations contain  prefabricated modular roof panels constructed from Douglas-fir. The roof-deck is made up of dimension lumber solidly packed together on edge, thin enough to achieve its curvilinear form. Each required only about a week and a half to install.

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