When you were younger the assumption was that all structures both houses and buildings were made of wood. That’s just what we thought. Well in 2013, PCL became part of history when they got to construct a building solely out of wood.

The client’s vision was to create a building with what they called “end-of-life story” – which means this building can be disassembled at the end of its functional life, and the wood products can be reused. The easily replicated design of the building was done to hopefully encourage architects, engineers, and wood developers to recognize the value of repeating this meaningful innovation.

PCL’s experience constructing a wood building of this size was new and not as easy as hammering sticks together like you did in your dad’s garage, so preplanning was crucial for success. Working collaboratively with the project partners allowed us the opportunity to learn and understand from the outset how vital accuracy is in pre-fabricating the wood products.

This 95-foot tall Wood Innovation and Design Centre (WIDC) would be one of the tallest contemporary wood buildings in North America. The variety of wood products themselves were all from parts of British Columbia, including Douglas-fir, cedar, hemlock, pine and spruce, as well as engineered wood products also produced in B.C. This design center now provides demonstration space with classrooms, research facilities for the new wood master’s program for the University of Northern British Columbia, a research lab, 75-seat lecture theatre, classrooms, offices and student spaces for the university. 

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