Aiming to use more sustainable building materials, the University of British Columbia (UBC) has approved the construction of “Tall Wood Residence”, an 18-storey wood frame structure that will house 404 upper year and graduate students. The $51.5 million project is expected to be completed by 2017, and will be one of the world’s tallest wood-frame residential structures. At the moment, the tallest wood residential building is Forte Tower in Melbourne, and it stands at 10-storeys high, or 32 metres. Their title will soon be taken by the Treet in Bergen, Norway, which is a 14-storey apartment building that is under construction and will be 49 metres high.

There are currently as many as 17 similar or taller projects around the world. The first floor and the elevator shaft and stairs will be constructed with concrete, and 17 floors of wood construction will be built on top, reaching 53 meters. Mass timbre will be used, which is different to the two-by-fours used in standard wood frame construction to ensure the safety of its inhabitants. It does not ignite easily, and will meet or exceed the fire and seismic safety codes. Research has also shown that sound transfer between floors and units is less or equal to what is found in traditional concrete buildings.