The UBC Brock Commons building in Vancouver, which comprises of 18 stories and stands 53 m in height, was at the time of completion in 2016 the world’s tallest hybrid wood-based building. The building’s 17 stories of mass-timber superstructure, carrying all gravity loads, rest on a concrete podium with two concrete cores that act as both the wind and seismic lateral load-resisting systems. Whereas the construction of the concrete cores took fourteen weeks in time, the mass-timber superstructure took only ten weeks from initiation to completion. A substantial reduction in the project timeline could have been achieved if mass-timber had been used for the cores, leading to a further reduction of the building’s environmental footprint and potential cost savings. The objective of this research was to evaluate the possibility of designing the UBC Brock Commons building using mass-timber cores. The results from a validated numerical structural model indicate that applying a series of structural adjustments, that is, configuration and thickness of cores, solutions with mass-timber cores can meet the seismic and wind performance criteria as per the current National Building Code of Canada. Specifically, the findings suggest the adoption of laminated-veneer lumber cores with supplementary ‘C-shaped’ walls to reduce torsion and optimize section’s mechanical properties. Furthermore, a life cycle analysis showed the environmental benefit of these all-wood solutions.
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