Canada's Acton Ostry Architects, in collaboration with tall wood advisor Architekten Hermann Kaufmann, has begun construction on the appropriately named "Tall Wood Building," an 18-story, 174-foot-tall residential tower for Canada’s University of British Columbia (UBC) upper year and graduate students. The tower will be the largest wooden residential tower, but maybe not for long: MGA's 35-story Baobab is still awaiting approval. Tall Wood Building will house approximately 400 students and include 33, four-bed units and 272 studio apartments. The ground floor of the tower will feature both study and social areas, and the communal student lounge will be located on the top floor. The cost for students to live in this building will be the same and/or similar to other on-campus living options. Located on Walter Gage Road north of the North Parkade, the $51.5-million, mass timber superstructure will sit upon a solid concrete base. From the outside, you'd be hard-pressed to tell the tower has a wood structure. The building’s facade will be comprised of both white and charcoal-colored prefabricated metal panels. “This beautiful, new tall wood building will serve as a living laboratory for the UBC community,” UBC interim president Martha Piper said in a statement. “It will advance the university’s reputation as a hub of sustainable and innovative design, and provide our students with much-needed on-campus housing.” Tall Wood Building will join the family of UBC wood structure campus buildings, including the AMS Student Nest and Engineering Student Centre, the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility, and the Earth Sciences Building. In addition to being a student residence, the building will also act as an academic site for both UBC students and researchers. UBC is currently working toward achieving a minimum of LEED Gold for Tall Wood Building, and the building is scheduled to be complete by 2017.
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An architect from Vancouver wants to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper over a roadway in Paris
Back in March, AN wrote about Rüdiger Lainer and Partners' plan to construct a wood skyscraper in Vienna. The so-called HoHo project would rise 276 feet and be about three-quarters wood. Now, Vancouver-based architect Michael Green, whose eponymous firm is behind “the tallest mass timber building in the United States” has proposed a timber tower for Paris that would be 10 stories taller—making it the tallest such structure on earth. That is, if it gets built. The tower is part of a mixed-use scheme called "Baobab" that Michael Green Architecture (MGA), along with Paris-based DVVD and developer REI France, submitted to Réinventer Paris—a city-sponsored competition that asked architects to propose "innovative urban projects" at one of 23 sites across town. MGA and its teammates went with Pershing, an under-utilized site that the competition says "will be at the heart of the Porte Maillot renewal operation, a strategic part of Greater Paris, linking the central business district with La Défense.” Along with the wood tower, which MGA says is carbon neutral, Baobab has a mix of market-rate and subsidized housing, a hotel for students, agricultural facilities, a bus station, and an e-car hub. The development would span across an eight-lane roadway. “Our goal is that through innovation, youthful social contact and overall community building, we have created a design that becomes uniquely important to Paris,” said Michael Green, Principal of MGA, in a statement. “Just as Gustave Eiffel shattered our conception of what was possible a century and a half ago, this project can push the envelope of wood innovation with France in the forefront. The Pershing Site is the perfect moment for Paris to embrace the next era of architecture.” Shortlisted proposals are expected to be announced this summer, so we will have to wait until then to see if Baobab has a chance of taking shape. [h/t CBC News]