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Sunday, June 11, 2017

World's Tallest Hybrid Timber Tower Designed By Japanese Architect

On a website dedicated to the forthcoming building known as Terrace House, its Japanese architect Ban Shigeru (surname first) states his credo: “What determines the permanence of a building is not the wealth of the developer or the materials that are used, but the simple question of whether or not the resulting structure is supported or loved by the people.”

Hunh… that’s simple, and it says it.

I don’t know what building isn’t supported by people—but obviously at some point in time, a building is torn down because of a lack of support…

I assume Ban wants his buildings to have some sort of permanence.

Terrace House is designed by Ban, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, and is set to become the world’s tallest hybrid timber structure in the Coal Harbour section of Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), Canada (not Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia). The Pritzker Prize is consider to be one of the top awards an architect can be recognized for.

Being from Toronto, the so-called center of the hockey universe, I can honestly say that I like the city of Vancouver’s design over Toronto’s mishmash of buildings that obscures the enjoyment of its lakefront. And don’t even get me started on the lack of execution in providing (in advance) adequate transportation relief from congestion that is gripping Toronto now and will for the foreseeable future.

As for Ban’s Terrace House hybrid structure… what does that mean?

While Ban has previously used mixes of wood and corrugated (aka cardboard - not paperboard) to design and construct low-cost materials to build emergency housing, Terrace House is meant to be a hybridization of wood, glass and concrete…

Uh… if you add brick, I’m pretty sure most houses are built with those items… what’s so special about Terrace House.

I looked it up, because hybrid architecture is a term often used in various media without providing proper context.

The fact that Terrace House uses wood, glass and concrete isn’t the big deal, as I’m sure that other media people would recognize that those materials are used in most architectural builds.

Hybrid architecture is actually the mixing and blending of landscape, object and infrastructure-related features—a triple mix of these concepts.

In this case, from what I can figure, we have retail space on the ground floor, three-levels of underground parking, and 20 unique homes. There are green terraces, too.

The sailboat design of Terrace House features triangular shapes and greenery, with Ban noting that all timber used will be sourced locally from within BC.

The first 12 stories will be constructed with traditional concrete and steel, while the remaining seven will feature exterior and floor plates cut from timber, with a concrete and steel core in order to meet seismic building codes, because the province is prone to earthquake activity from time-to-time.

Ban’s Terrace House-design is his first in Canada, and will be led by BC developer PortLiving, which has a project team that includes Cornelia Oberlander, the landscape designer who worked on the Evergreen Building beside the site.

Like any good architect, Ban looked at the proposed site and its surrounding areas, and designed Terrace House with terraces that align almost seamlessly at each level with the Evergreen Building.

By the way, for those of you wondering about the permanence of using wood… keep in mind that many of Japan’s temples and shrines are several hundreds of years old… one of those things I like about Japan’s architecture is that it can be fairly common to see a building that predates every structure in Canada (but one).

If you don’t know what I mean, look up L'Anse aux Meadows… a Viking settlement located in Newfoundland that is 1,000 years old… which predates Columbus almost discovering America by some 500 years. Did Columbus actually set-foot on the main continent? Ever? No… no he didn’t…

Why does the US celebrate Columbus Day? Chris thought he had found a new route to the Indies— which is what China, Japan and India were called, hence Indians—and the landing in the Americas (Bahamas et al) led to the destruction of many indigenous peoples and cultures.

Look at that... I wasn't looking for it, but found a Japan reference to Columbus and the Vikings...

The Vikings kept their earlier discovery of North America quiet. Apparently you can trust a Swede, Norwegian or Dane to keep a secret.

There’s no date set for when shovel/spade hits the ground to launch the construction, but it is forthcoming.

Andrew Joseph

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