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Mirror the Patterns of Nature

A timber structure that balances innovation with sustainability.

Vancouver, BC

A Building that Grows from the Site

2102 Keith Drive is a 10-storey mass timber office building, envisioned as a flagship extension of the future lead-tenant’s values and practices. The building contains offices, flexible meeting areas, an international award-winning research development and innovation department, wellness spaces such as a yoga room, and social spaces such as a rooftop amenity featuring food gardens. The HQ will be fitted with natural materials and is designed to encourage employee wellbeing and productivity through open, day-lit spaces.

The Poetic and the Pragmatic

The architectural design utilizes a perimeter braced structural system that creates a striking expression of the building from the exterior and eliminates the need for conventional cast-in place concrete cores. Instead, an innovative mass-timber structure is proposed for all floors above Level 2; a series of timber shear walls in the interior and a series of structural braces at the exterior resist the wind and seismic loads. Like a tree, the building displays the forces that it must withstand. A network of balconies on the south, west, and east façades between the braces create an elongated hexagonal pattern that is a direct expression of the structural system. The external cellular structure works at multiple scales. At the neighborhood scale, it creates a strong identity with an exoskeleton that references nature. At the street scale, the 2-storey cells reduce the mass of the building and create a finer grain texture. At the human scale, the cells create a place that can be occupied and provides prospect, refuge, and protection from the elements.

Grounding the Design

Inside speaks to outside. The landscape architecture takes advantage of the sloped site and responds to the design of the building with a stepped feature running along the south facade of the building, staggered to match the honeycomb cells above. This stone and metal feature directs and filters site-collected storm water through the native landscape and into a reflecting pool adjacent to the building entry, before entering a below-grade cistern where it will be stored for irrigation. A landscape feature at the southeast corner of the site pays tribute to the public art piece ‘Monument for East Vancouver’, by opening views and pedestrian access to this iconic landmark at the intersection of Clark Drive and Great Northern Way.

Balancing Act

This project has ambitious sustainability targets that reflect the values and philosophies of the lead tenant as an industry leading organic food company. Targets include LEED® Gold minimum and the AIA 2030 Challenge toward carbon neutral buildings. These targets will be achieved by the implementation of a highly efficient mechanical system, passive design elements, a high-performance building envelope and through the use of renewable materials such as the timber structure. Mass timber was selected as the structural system for the building because of its sustainability, aesthetic, and functional qualities. Building occupants will benefit from having an office environment based on principals of biophilia and natural materials.

Project facts

Size: 15,000 sq m
Project Manager: Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP
Collaborators: Fast + Epp, AME, AES
Sustainability: Tall Wood Mass Timber Structure, EUI target of 82 kWh/m2/yr (80% below baseline), Targeting LEED Gold