The University of British Columbia consistently showcases its interest in building innovation. UBC’s enrollment growth meant that new student housing was needed. Additional housing for over 400 students called for a quick, sustainable and cost effective building solution. The building was completed less than 70 days after the prefabricated panels were delivered to the site, with the installation rate averaging two floors per week. Adhering to the province’s “wood first initiative”, Brock Commons is the first mass wood, steel and concrete hybrid project over 14 storey tall in the world. Due to the upkeep costs of natural wood, Trespa® was introduced as a substitute to eliminate any additional life cycle costs while preserving the desired aesthetics.

Aerial view of Spectrum Facades on UBC's Brock Commons Student Residence

UBC's Brock Commons: Student Residence



Vancouver, BC


Centura Building Systems


Aston Ostry Architects


NEW12 Natual Bagenda, P25.8.1 Anthracite Grey


The choice of colours was another factor in selecting the cladding material. As a signature structure on campus, a beautiful and low maintenance facade was mandatory. Trespa® fulfilled the requirements creating a building that will continue to be an architectural gem on campus for many years. In order to house over 400 students, the tower includes 404 beds within 33 four-bedroom suites. Centrally located with stunning campus and ocean views, it is the pinnacle of student housing and was completed in the spring of 2017.


Standing at 53 meters (174 feet) high, Brock Commons is currently the world’s tallest mass timber structure. The entire façade of this student residence is constructed with steel stud framing with exterior sheathing, insulation and Trespa® Meteon® for the rainscreen. The use of modular construction reduced the build schedule by over 10% and improved installation quality using a controlled environment.


Trespa’s patented Electron Beam Curing (EBC) process creates the industry’s most colour stable and homogenous phenolic panel. Resistance to weathering, UVexposure, dirt accumulation, scratches and dents means the panels will look as beautiful today as they will in decades to come. Trespa® helped reduce the façade life cycle costs which would have included cleaning, re-staining or re-painting every 3–5 years. This was essential in meeting budget requirements over the life of the building.


Not only does Trespa® add to the beauty of UBC’s campus, it is also PEFC and FSC certified and made with 70% wood fibres, making it an environmentally responsible product. As part of the rainscreen system, it contributed to the building achieving LEED Gold certification by meeting R-16 thermal resistance. Trespa® helped attain UBC’s vision of a beautiful, long lasting and sustainable building.


This remarkable building, the first of its kind in the world, is another shining example of Canadian ingenuity and building innovation. With a large global push for sustainable wood construction, the project was a popular destination for
those eager to learn how it was designed and built. Visitors comprised of delegates from around the world including the 2020 Japanese Olympic Committee for construction of Olympic venues and housing. Brock Commons paves the way for additional “wood first initiative” projects across North America and the world.



“Wood is increasingly recognized as an important, innovative and safe building material choice. This new tall wood building reflects UBC’s leadership in sustainable construction and our commitment to providing our students with more on-campus housing.”

– Santa J. Ono, UBC President

“What I like about the Natural Bagenda is it does not mimic an actual wood grain. Rather, it is a man-made pattern that evokes the spirit of wood. Trespa is also made with 70% wood fibers, which was a compelling consideration as it aligns with the spirit of Brock Commons’ mass wood structure.”

– Russell Acton, Principal of Acton Ostry Architects Inc.

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