Winter Garden in Canada's Earth Tower

Canada’s Earth Tower

Vancouver, British Columbia
Reimagine what a Building can do

Delta Land Development approached us to reimagine what a building can do to make a positive impact on human health and the planet. With a sky-is-the-limit mindset, we developed a design concept that could “revolutionize the industry” and advance green building in an unprecedented way.

Using a mass timber hybrid technique, we designed a concept for a 40-storey mixed-use tower that—if built—would be the tallest of its kind in the world. With the intention to meet third party best-in-class standards, the concept employs Passive House principles and targets zero-emissions, refraining from consuming fossil fuels in its operation. Designed to improve livability in tall urban buildings, we integrated generous social spaces and gardens that offer an immediate connection to nature.

Although there are no current plans to build, we explored this concept further through studies on balconies in mid- to high-rise mass timber buildings. Constructing a two-storey mock-up, we were able to test and analyze solutions that would overcome barriers to using timber as a competitive structural system.

Entry Courtyard of Canada's Earth Tower
The Canada’s Earth Tower concept celebrates and encourages the love of nature and natural systems, and leverages the inherent health and well-being benefits this brings to inhabitants.
Overall Aerial View of Canada's Earth Tower
Why Wood is the Right Material

By using BC wood from sustainably managed forests as its primary structure, the development could advance the industry by altering market perceptions, providing choice, and putting the performance and environmental implications of construction at the forefront. We incorporated locally manufactured mass timber into the design and a hybrid technique that would use reinforced concrete elevator cores to provide lateral stability to the structure, while engineered wood columns and composite floors would comprise the structure of the occupied spaces. Together, this concept helps set a new benchmark for sustainable building performance and wood construction.

Cover and inside spread of Canada's Earth Tower: Balcony Mock-up report
Exploring Tall Mass Timber Construction

Balconies pose significant challenges that are amplified in mass timber construction. The requirements to connect balconies to the structure and related building enclosures are relatively new and evolving. As part of our studies for Canada’s Earth Tower, we built a two-storey balcony structure to analyze, document, and better understand its performance in a real-world setting—testing and analyzing solutions to structure, durability, and constructability. Our studies included thermally broken structural connection detailing, off-site timber prefabrication, and weather protection.

Click here to read the report

“To match my vision, I asked Perkins&Will to create a concept for this site that is the best response known to man for climate change and buildings.”

Bruce Langereis, President, Delta Land Development

Health and Happiness

We believe that living closely together in cities demands considered design to encourage positive social interaction, and we developed a tower concept that delivers a superior indoor environment for its office and residential inhabitants. By integrating three-storey south facing winter gardens, inhabitants would be given interconnected social spaces that offer an immediate connection with nature. A rooftop terrace—complete with a greenhouse—offers an unprecedented 360 view of the surrounding landscape.

Grocery Corner at Canada's Earth Tower

Project Team

Peter Busby
Adrian Watson
Susan Gushe Headshot
Susan Gushe
Kathy Wardle
Derek Newby