At a wood design conference in Kelowna Tuesday, participants learned about the growing use of wood in the commercial building construction industry.
“It is definitely on an up-tick,” says Lynn Embury-Williams of the Canadian Wood Council. “The more buildings that are designed and built, the more we learn. And because it’s so successful, everybody wants to be in that game.”
One of those in the game is conference speaker Greg Piccini. His company, Proscenium Architecture, designed the new Mountain Equipment Co-op head office in Vancouver which incorporates a lot of wood features.
“It’s a natural element and they’re all about getting out into nature,” says Piccini. “And there’s a lot of sustainable benefits to wood. It’s a renewable resource and it’s a carbon capturing material as well.”
Wood will feature prominently in MEC’s new Kelowna store which is currently under construction.
“We’re going to have a large wooden canopy supported by large, glue-laminated wood columns and a wood soffit on top,” says Piccini. “We’re entering an exciting era in the use of wood. I think there’s going to be, in the next ten years, a lot of change in people’s perception of it and how it’s used. We’re going to see a lot of it around.”
As a province with a large forest industry, that’s a good thing.
“The technology that’s being developed with wood allows you to build taller, bigger, faster. It’s very cost competitive,” says Embury-Williams. “You can put up a wood building in no time relative to a concrete building. So it really is an all purpose product.”