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Friday, March 1, 2024

CLT building under construction on East Broadway

With extensive use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), Vancouver’s MGA | Michael Green Architecture has designed a four-storey boutique development for 550 East Broadway.

Currently under construction, the mid-block infill building consists of three levels of residential with 25 rental units over one storey of commercial space — intended for a restaurant.

There is one level of underground parking, as well as an amenity room, courtyard, shared roof deck, urban agriculture area and green roof.

Renderings: CLT (cross-laminated timber) residential building

Interior amenity space, with exposed CLT (cross-laminated timber) walls.
Interior amenity space. Credit: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
Entrance lobby, showcases the exposed CLT (cross-laminated timber) ceiling, contrasting walls clad in perforated metal.
Entrance lobby. Credit: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
Typical suite interior
Typical suite interior. Credit: MGA | Michael Green Architecture

The massing of the building is simple, a rectangular block clad in corrugated metal panels. At night, the building has lantern-like appearance with glimpses of wood through perforated panels in off-white aluminium. 

The podium is concrete and the upper floors are framed with CLT (cross laminated timber) — ensuring the thickness of the floor plates was kept to a minimum — a necessity due to strict zoning limitations on building height.

In the interiors, the CLT structure is exposed on the ceilings, adding a warm and modern design element.

Credit: Gair Williamson Architect – Schematic Design and Original Development Permit; MGA – all other architectural services 

Related: Developments using mass timber construction

What is CLT?

CLT or cross-laminated timber is made from layers of kiln-dried lumber boards, glued together with structural adhesives. It is lightweight but extremely strong — structurally comparable to steel or concrete. The panels are cut to size at the mill, ensuring quick installation on-site and speeding up construction projects. Using CLT, projects can essentially be pre-fabricated, dramatically reducing construction waste.

According to manufacturer Structurlam, up to 14,000 square feet of panels can be installed in a single day with a team of four to six people. In 2016, the CLT construction of an 18-storey student residence at UBC was completed in just over two months.

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Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner
Peter Meiszner is an experienced journalist and media relations professional, based in Vancouver. As founder of urbanYVR.com, he has been reporting on urban development across the Lower Mainland since 2016, and has also served as vice-chair of the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee. In October 2022, he was elected to Vancouver city council and is no longer actively reporting for urbanYVR.

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