On a recent visit to Vancouver I went out to the University of British Columbia [UBC] campus. There is much of interest on the campus, including the Museum of Anthropology, the Nitobe Gardens and the Museum of Biodiversity. See my posts on the first two of these.

This post is about a recently added attraction. The Tallwood student residence. This building is the tallest wooden building in the world with 17 stories and accommodation for 400 students. Instead of using reinforced concrete most of the building is constructed using cross laminated timber [CLT].

CLT is like grown up plywood. It consists of strips of timber glued together to whatever thickness and shape is required. CLT is very strong and rot and fire resistant. Accommodation units were factory built off site and then just slotted into the building.

This video provides a time lapse of the buildings construction.

Using CLT speeds construction and is environmentally superior to concrete. Instead of using a lot of energy to produce cement the CLT building method locks up CO2 for the life of a building.

Canada has a lot of trees and is well equipped to lead in the construction of buildings like Tallwood. The amount of timber used in the construction was replaced in 6 minutes by the normal growth of Canada's forests.

A lot of Canada's cities have housing shortages. The situation in Vancouver is particularly bad. Some government contracts to build a lot of apartment blocks would be a way of developing the country's CLT production and construction industries.

New Zealand is another country with a lot of trees but not enough houses. I wonder if it is looking a CLT construction.

Visiting UBC

There are frequent buses from downtown Vancouver. It is a very attractive campus but also a large one. The Museum of Anthropology [shown as MOA on campus maps] and the Nitobe Gardens are close together on the edge of the campus. Tallwood and the Museum of Biodiversity more central and are fairly close together.

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