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University of British Columbia Earth Sciences Building

Vancouver, BC
  • Bldg system

    Mass Timber

  • No. Of Stories


  • Sq. footage


The Earth Sciences Building (ESB) at UBC's Vancouver campus is designed to house three of UBC's science departments. It contains offices, research laboratories, teaching spaces, a cafe, and a museum. The building is situated on the Main Mall, the primary pedestrian route through campus. A heavily glazed entry level creates visual connection between the work going on inside the building and the campus at large.

The building is generally constructed as two different parts: a conventionally reinforced concrete laboratory wing, and an 85,000 square foot office and lecture hall wing constructed of mass timber. A connecting atrium space featuring large exposed timber elements connects the two. 

The building features several innovative structural components. Timber-concrete composite LSL floor panels span 21' between timber-concrete composite post and beam frames which are fully transferred across the 63' wide lecture theaters located on the ground and second floors. The roof and generous exterior canopy structure surrounding the building were built of the first CLT panels fabricated in North America. Elegant exposed CNC-machined glulam chevron braces provide seismic resistance at the southwest facade. A defining feature of the building is the dramatic, fully cantilevered stair composted of seamless folded glulam plates, a first of its kind in the world. 

The project represents one of the largest timber-concrete composite applications in the world and sets a new standard of quality and performance for institutional timber construction in North America.

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  • Material Types:

    Mass Timber, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT), Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam), Hybrid (wood with steel or concrete), Structural Composite Lumber (e.g. LVL and LSL), Wood-Concrete Composite Systems

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