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CLT building under construction on East Broadway

550 East Broadway rendering
550 East Broadway rendering. Credit: MGA | Michael Green Architecture

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. Credit: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
Entrance lobby. Credit: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
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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