A net-zero prototype residential tower finds design inspiration in the nature and arts of British Columbia.
Prototype (M5) is a Tall Wood Net Zero Lifecycle Carbon affordable rental tower located in Vancouver. The name derives from its intention to be a replicable, open-source prototype and hybrid mass timber case study to help British Columbia achieve a significant reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions, while addressing the crisis of affordable housing in Vancouver.
This new tower will be one of the world’s tallest mass timber buildings and will have nearly the same net environmental impact as if it was never built. Prototype uses an innovative and cost-effective hybrid approach to construction combining CLT floors, steel columns and a low-carbon concrete core. Sustainability is further promoted with a zero-parking strategy, and enhanced bike facilities will support an active bike culture, celebrated throughout the building interiors.
By replacing a surface parking lot, Prototype (M5) enhances an area plan that aspires to create a vibrant neighborhood, safe and active at all hours of the day. The project’s provision of new purpose-built rental housing further strengthens the community, helping to address housing challenges in Vancouver, with one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the country – typically averaging 1%.
The architecture and tectonics of M5 Prototype find inspiration in traditional weaving techniques and in the sculptural form of pine cones found in BC forests. The art of weaving cedar fiber baskets provides an almost water-tight membrane, producing a product that is beautiful and practical. Likewise, the scales of a pine cone inspired the panels of the exterior wall assembly, designed to protect the interior from rain and cold temperatures and provide solar shading. A series of interlocking panels are “woven” together to create a seamless composition of solid and void that articulates the high-performance envelope.