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Industry & Trends

A Mass Timber Twist: New Canadian Office Tower Features an Entire Bamboo Forest

High-rise structures using mass timber construction are becoming ever more common but a new 43-story tower in Vancouver puts a new spin on it with its own bamboo forest.

As more and more builders are using mass timber materials to construct new buildings, a Canadian company using a Japanese architect has reversed the process, placing an entire bamboo forest in its new 43-story tower.

Called Alberni by Kengo Kuma, the residential tower is clad in aluminum and glass panels but the highlight for many is the entire bamboo forest on the ground floor that surrounds an enclosed amphitheater with a piano designed by the architect as well.

According to a review of the now-completed tower in Architectural Digest, Kuma is “known for his ability to merge traditional Japanese design ethos and materials with a contemporary flair. The layered exterior exposes more wood and steel than glass, showcasing Kuma’s distinct perspective without neglecting the city it was built for.”

While the new building is by no means the only office structure to use indoor forests as a theme, it does appear to make wider use of it than previously. One of the best-known commercial buildings with a similar look is the IBM Building on Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan. Opened in 1983 and designed by famed architectural firm Edward Larrabee Barnes and Associates it too features bamboo, though they are grouped into smaller areas rather than the larger array at this new Vancouver building.

“Alberni by Kengo Kuma will always hold a special place,” Ian Gillespie, founder of its developer Westbank said. “This is a project that in time we believe the world will judge as being amongst the most artistic and resolved residential buildings ever built-layer upon layer of detail creates moments that are subtle and ever changing, only revealed through experience.”


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