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Credit: Shigeru Ban Architects


The design of the world’s tallest hybrid timber building, by Shigeru Ban Architects, has been revealed by Vancouver-based developer PortLiving. Named “Terrace House,” the project will be located in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighborhood, adjacent to the landmark-listed Evergreen Building, designed by late architect Arthur Erickson. The design of the “Terrace House” pays tribute to its neighbor, picking up the architectural language of triangular shapes, natural materials, and an abundance of greenery. [1]


Prior to the official approval of Terrace House, the use of exposed mass timber in a hybrid wood structure of this height had never been permitted in either Canada or the United States. While there has been much discussion of the environmental benefits of tall mass timber buildings, few exceeding 6-storeys have been permitted or constructed. The recently completed Brock Commons, an 18-storey student residence at the University of British Columbia, was permitted only as an exception to the BC Building Code and the acceptance was based in part on covering all the timber with fire-rated gypsum wallboard. 


The approval is a milestone for Terrace House and the City of Vancouver. It was achieved through a process of performance-based fire and structural engineering tests supported by analysis of fire risks including risk of fire after earthquake. Tests demonstrated to the City and the expert peer reviewers that this hybrid mass timber building is as safe, if not safer, than a conventional concrete or steel high-rise. [2]


[1]       Lynch, Patrick. “Shigeru Ban Architects Reveals Designs for World’s Tallest Hybrid Timber Building in Vancouver.” ArchDaily. ArchDaily, June 2, 2017. https://www.archdaily.com/872771/shigeru-ban-architects-reveals-designs-for-worlds-tallest-hybrid-timber-building-in-vancouver.

[2]     “Terrace House, Vancouver’s Most Exclusive Waterfront Condominium, Receives Tallest Approval for Hybrid Wood Structure in North America.” EconoTimes, December 20, 2017. https://www.econotimes.com/Terrace-House-Vancouvers-Most-Exclusive-Waterfront-Condominium-Receives-Tallest-Approval-for-Hybrid-Wood-Structure-in-North-America-1068383.

Additional information:

Ditmars, Hadani. “Shigeru Ban’s Timber-Framed Terrace House Breaks Ground in Vancouver.” Wallpaper*. Wallpaper*, February 20, 2018. https://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/vancouver-shigeru-ban-terrace-house.

Erickson Landscaping & Construction. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.ericksonlandscapingandconstruction.com/.

Franklin, Sydney. “Shigeru Ban’s Terrace House Will Be the World’s Tallest Hybrid Wood Tower.” Journal, November 6, 2017. https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration/industry/shigeru-ban-terrace-house/.

Gibson, Eleanor. “Shigeru Ban Reveals New Details of ‘World’s Tallest Hybrid Timber Structure’ for Vancouver.” Dezeen. Dezeen, June 5, 2017. https://www.dezeen.com/2017/12/11/interiors-terrace-house-shigeru-ban-unveils-hyrbid-timber-tower-vancouver-port-living/.

Penner, Derrick. “Signature Mass-Timber Terrace House Stalled under Court Protection from Insolvency.” vancouversun. Vancouver Sun, September 13, 2020. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/signature-mass-timber-terrace-house-stalled-under-court-protection-from-insolvency.

“Residential Map.” PortLiving. Accessed July 9, 2021. http://portliving.com/residential/terrace-house/.

“Shigeru Ban Design Revealed for Vancouver’s ‘Terrace House’.” Canadian Interiors, March 4, 2019. https://www.canadianinteriors.com/2017/12/11/shigeru-ban-design-vancouver-terrace-house/.

“Shigeru Ban Reveals Plans for ‘Terrace House’ Residences in Vancouver.” designboom, March 17, 2020. https://www.designboom.com/architecture/shigeru-ban-terrace-house-vancouver-coal-harbour-portliving-canada-06-02-2017/.

Slowey, Kim. “Vancouver, Canada Greenlights 19-Story Mass Timber Tower.” Construction Dive, January 10, 2018. https://www.constructiondive.com/news/vancouver-canada-greenlights-19-story-mass-timber-tower/514466/.

“Terrace House – Coal Harbour.” Vancouver New Condos, April 29, 2019. https://www.vancouvernewcondos.com/properties/terrace-house-coal-harbour/.

“Terrace House / テラスハウス.” Shigeru Ban Architects. Accessed July 9, 2021. http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/works/2020_Terrace_house/index.html.

“Terrace House Rises Above Grade: SkyriseVancouver.” News. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://vancouver.skyrisecities.com/news/2019/08/terrace-house-rises-above-grade.

“Terrace House, Vancouver.” Terrace House, Vancouver – Designing Buildings Wiki. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Terrace_House,_Vancouver.

“Terrace House.” Architect, June 5, 2017. https://www.architectmagazine.com/project-gallery/terrace-house_o.

“Terrace House.” Francl Architecture. Accessed July 9, 2021. https://franclarchitecture.com/work/terrace-house.

“Terraced House.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, July 5, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraced_house.

Project Title: Terrace House
Artists:  Shigeru Ban Architects
Year: 2018 (construction ongoing)

Place: Vancouver, British Columbia

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