Education, Mass Timber, Tall Wood

Brock Commons Tallwood House

Demonstrating the viability of mass wood structures

Brock Commons Tallwood House is an innovative 18 storey tall wood hybrid building at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

The wood structure was complete less than 70 days after the prefabricated components arrived on site, approximately four months faster than a typical project of this size.

Brock Commons tall wood building construction exterior
Brock Commons tall wood mass timber aerial view

Brock Commons Phase 1 is an 18-story hybrid mass timber residence at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The building is comprised of 17 stories of mass timber construction above a concrete podium and two concrete stair cores. The floor structure consists of 5-ply cross laminated timber (CLT) panels supported on glued-laminated timber (glulam) columns. The roof is made of prefabricated sections of steel beams and metal decking.

Brock Commons has the capacity for just over 400 students with floorplans ranging from single bed studios to 4-bed accommodations.

The estimated avoided and sequestered greenhouse gases from the wood used in the building is equivalent to removing 511 cars off the road for a year. The total carbon dioxide equivalent avoided by using wood products over other materials in the building is more than 2,432 metric tons. The building was designed to meet LEED Gold certification.

***Estimated by the Wood Carbon Calculator for Buildings, based on research by Sathre, R. and J. O’Connor, 2010, A Synthesis of Research on Wood Products and Greenhouse Gas Impacts, FPInnovations (this relates to carbon stored and avoided GHG).
***CO2 refers to CO2 equivalent.

Brock Commons tall wood mass timber construction site
Assembly of prefabricated Brock Commons exterior

Wood is a sustainable and versatile building material that stores, rather than emits, carbon dioxide for the life of the structure and beyond when wood fiber is recycled or reclaimed. In addition to wood’s carbon storing properties, wood’s lower energy consumption during manufacturing results in lower greenhouse gas emissions than from the production of other building materials. Mass timber products are versatile and high-performance building materials, especially where environmental objectives are concerned.

Case Studies

Content adapted with permission from

While British Columbia has taken a leadership role in Canada for taller wood buildings with the construction of Brock Commons Tallwood House and the Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George, other jurisdictions in North America are close behind. The WoodWorks! BC case study on Brock Commons Tall Wood House, funded by Natural Resources Canada, provides a technical overview of the building and the design and construction process. The Canadian WoodWorks! program provides resources such as this case study to support and advance designs and building with wood.

Read the Case Study

Project Details

  • Architect
    • Acton Ostry Architects Inc.
  • Tall Wood Advisor
    • Architekten Hermann Kaufmann
  • Fire Science and Building Code Consultants
    • GHL Consultants Ltd.
  • Building Enclosure and Building Science Consultants
    • RDH Building Science Inc.
  • Structural Engineer
    • Fast & Epp Structural Engineers
  • Owner
    • The University Of British Columbia
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