UBC Brock Commons


  • UBC Properties Trust
  • Acton Ostry Architects
  • Completed September 2017
  • 305 Suites, 404 Beds
  • 53 metres, 18 floors

TallWood House, UBC Brock Commons student residence, is a groundbreaking project utilizing advanced wood-based building systems, physically demonstrating the applicability of wood in the tall-building market. At a height of 53 meters, it is currently the tallest wood building in the world. Wood is the material of choice because it acts as a carbon store and is a renewable resource. This project involved extensive offsite prefabrication including the structure, the building envelope panels, the main roof panels and some interior items.
This project achieved erection of 17 floors of wood structure in 9 working weeks during Summer 2016, including prefabricated panelized building envelope installed at the same time.


The building is comprised of 17 storeys 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 glue laminated timber (glulam) columns. The roof is made of prefabricated sections of steel beams and metal decking.

TallWood House

Time Lapse Construction

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 tonnes.

UBC Tallwood House

Construction Process

Construction of the mass timber structure at the University of British Columbia’s Brock Commons Tallwood House took about nine weeks —two month ahead of schedule.