A new hybrid building under construction in Vancouver to house University of British Columbia students will become the world’s tallest timber tower when completed in 2017.

Designed by Acton Ostry Architects with Architekten Hermann Kaufmann of Austria as tall wood advisors, the $51.5 million project will rise to a height of 53 metres to accommodate 404 students. Construction on the 18-story Brock Commons Student Residence at the University of British Columbia began in November 2015 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017. The student housing structure will be the tallest mass wood hybrid building in the world.

The hybrid construction includes a one-story concrete podium, two freestanding concrete cores for lateral stability, and 17 storys of mass timber topped with a prefabricated steel beam and metal deck roof. The timber structure carries the vertical loads for the entire building. Steel connectors fitted to the building’s glulam columns provide direct load transfer between the columns and a grid of cross laminated timber (CLT) panels, allowing the building to meet new seismic design requirements for the 2015 National Building Code of Canada.