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B.C.’s second-largest encapsulated mass timber building welcomes tenants in Langford

Tallwood 1 a component of District 56 development
Design Build Services is celebrating the official opening of its Tallwood 1 building in the District 56 development in Langford. (Black Press Media)

David Holmes/Contributor

The concept of mass timber construction has been taken to new heights in Langford, an accomplishment that will be marked by a special ceremony at the end of the month.

Project developer, Victoria’s Design Build Services (DBS), along with local dignitaries, will conduct a ribbon-cutting event at its Tallwood 1 mixed-used building Sept. 29.

“Tallwood 1 is an extraordinary building. It’s actually the second largest encapsulated mass timber construction building in British Columbia, the other being Brock Commons (a student residence) located at UBC,” explained Rebecca McKay, DBS’s chief business development officer.

“Instead of using concrete and steel we’re using mass timber, which is a construction method that was approved in the 2015 B.C. Building Code to go above six storeys, we can go up to 12 storeys under that building code, which is what we’ve done with Tallwood 1.”

The mass timber building technique involves the creation of structural panels, posts or beams through a production process that involves the glueing or otherwise fusing of wooden elements together in layers. The resulting product has a strength rating higher than steel or concrete while being significantly lighter. Mass timber products can be used as load-bearing elements and are found in wall, floor and roof construction.

“Mass timber has a number of advantages – in part for its environmental benefits and partially over the speed of construction. Mass timber is also safer from the perspective of fires, unlike with light-frame wood construction, like you find in a house for example. Imagine a campfire which is easy to start using kindling. But if you were to drop a whole log on the fire it would be difficult to set alight. That same analogy holds true with mass timber,” McKay explained.

Mass timber buildings can also be considered safer from a seismic perspective when compared to steel and concrete construction, due to the natural ability of the material to flex and sway without fracturing, she added.

Tallwood 1 is a key element in District 56. The downtown Langford project consists of the existing mixed-use Terminus building (which is also a mass timber structure) and will eventually include a second tower.

The new building features a ground-floor commercial component and 11 storeys of rental accommodation, with a total of 124 apartments, including four penthouse units. While the grand opening takes place Sept. 29, tenants began moving in during July.

“It’s not going to look like a log cabin, from the perspective of the users it will seem like any other building. As this is a 12-storey building they do require us to encapsulate, which means all of the wood is actually covered up by drywall,” McKay said.

“The only place where the wood is exposed is on the top floor for esthetic purposes.”

DBS is the developer of the project but will look after the day-to-day operation and administration of the development through its sister company DB Land Acquisitions. Designed by Victoria architect Jack James, Tallwood 1 is located at 2830 Peatt Rd.


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