40-Storey Wood Office Tower


The office building of the future.

The growing exploration of engineered and hybrid technologies is driving the design of buildings from wood to new heights. Such was the inspiration behind HDR | CEI’s design of a proposed 40-storey office tower, recognized with an honorable mention in the “Office Building of the Future” design competition, held by the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP).

Our objectives included a design that would incorporate advanced sustainable strategies, would be visually iconic, would be attractive to tenants for its functionality and warmth, and would respond to the climate and environment of the Pacific Northwest.

The resulting design addresses these issues through highly flexible, column-free spaces and a myriad of other highly sustainable and functional features. The scheme proposes a building footprint of 150 feet by 90 feet, with a central concrete core. Floor decks are made of wood-concrete composite elements that take advantage of the superior tension capacity of wood and the compression capacity of concrete.

Floors are built from engineered CREE panels, spanning 30 feet from the core to perimeter truss. An east-west axis helps maximize solar gain and control east-west exposure. Exterior sunshades are oriented vertically on the east-west elevations, with horizontal shades on the south that incorporate photovoltaic solar panels.

Preliminary costing shows that this scheme can be constructed with a five percent savings over traditionally constructed office buildings, an indication that a tall building featuring substantial, sustainable and smart use of wood is an idea worth considering.

Our team for the NAIOP Office Building of the Future submission included Nick Bevanda, Tim McLennan, Robert Parlane and Robert Cesnik from HDR | CEI, and Read Jones Christoffersen Consulting Engineers, Rocky Point Engineering, 2020 Engineering and SSA Quantity Surveyors Ltd.

Project Cost



730,000 sq ft



Sustainable Features

  • Maximizing the use of wood sequesters over 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide
  • Water-efficient systems reduce the project’s demand on potable water and convert black and grey water for toilets and irrigation
  • Optimized mechanical and electrical systems would generate over 50% of the building’s energy
  • Construction materials and finishes with high recycled content
  • Natural ventilation enhances indoor air quality
  • Daylight is maximized by 30-foot core-to-glass dimension


Honorable Mention, Office Building of the Future, 2012

NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association

Competition Longlist, 2013

Architecture of Necessity


HDR | CEI is an excellent firm when it comes to innovative design in wood. They have been very active in many iconic projects in B.C., including our efforts at tall wood buildings. They have also been strongly supportive of advancing a wood culture in B.C.

Peter Moonen

Sustainability Coordinator
Canadian Wood Council


NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association


Vancouver, BC (proposed)


Office & Commercial