Vancouver has always been on the edge of progressive and sustainable architecture. Canada’s Earth Tower is no exception; to be constructed between the Fairview and Kitsilano areas of Vancouver, the 37-storey Earth Tower will be the world’s tallest hybrid mass timber building. In 2020, Delta Land Development put forth an interesting challenge: to design a wood-based envelope prototype—including its façade system and design features—that will be integrated into the building structure. All complete competition entries will be featured as part of a publicly funded research project documenting the development of wood-based façade systems that will be made accessible to the industry. The winning entry will be tested and potentially selected for use on this revolutionary sustainable wood building.
Our team’s façade design was inspired by the ocean, and specifically, the artistic renderings of waves and fish scales that are prevalent in Japanese art. The design takes advantage of timber’s remarkable material properties, including high thermal resistance, ease of machining, and high-mass acoustic energy absorption. The façade’s detailing of the vapour retarder, insulation, and waterproofing planes follow the same principles that make the highest-performance aluminum curtainwall systems so effective.