Tallest wood condo tower in N. America rising in Quebec

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Quebec City’s Origine project has innovative, eco-friendly concepts

The Origine – in Pointe-aux-Lievres, in Quebec City. Artist’s concept.

A  ground-breaking ceremony was held on Monday for the Origine green condo project in Quebec City, set to become the tallest solid wood condo tower in North America.

QuebecPremier Philippe Couillard and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume both attended the event to celebrate the project, which has positioned Quebec as a leader in eco-friendly wood construction. Origine will also be the flagship building of the Pointe-aux-Lièvres ecodistrict, in the heart of Quebec City.

The 41-metre-tall building, to be delivered by the end of the year, will feature 12 storeys made of gigantic cross-laminated timber above a concrete ground floor. It will house 92 condo units. The project was selected by Natural Resources Canada and received $1.175 million in funding under the Tall Wood Building Demonstration Initiative. That federal program helps to cover some of the additional construction costs of such buildings, including research and development projects.

Origine’s success speaks to the openness of Quebec City residents, who are willing to try innovative eco-friendly concepts. Origine is clearly in a league of its own, with natural-gas air and water heating, radiant floors, a smart garbage chute and—most importantly—a matchless location that offers the best of city and nature living.

The view, as envisaged, from an Origine balcony.

Canada’s wood construction leadership

The project could not have come to life without the vision and involvement of the Government of Canada, the Quebec government, the Ville de Québec and many research partners, including FPInnovations. Origine is the first major project in a promising new industry that can meet demand for sustainable buildings.

Jim Carr, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, said: “By supporting innovation and the use of new techniques in the construction of wood-based high-rise buildings, we are supporting the growth of a strong and competitive forestry industry. These investments in research and development lead to cleaner, more sustainable construction practices, all while promoting the creation of employment opportunities in the forestry sector. Innovative, entrepreneurial ideas like these are integral to our fight against climate change.”

Fire-resistance testing

The Quebec Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs paid for unprecedented fire-resistance testing to demonstrate the concept’s structural stability in the event of a fire. The Régie du bâtiment du Québec never compromised on safety and compliance as it analyzed and eventually approved the project with great open-mindedness. In the wake of the Origine project, the Quebec government even released a construction guide for medium- and high-rise buildings.

As for the Ville de Québec, it designed the Pointe-aux-Lièvres ecodistrict and authorized construction of Origine.

Régis Labeaume, Quebec City Mayor, said: “I wish to congratulate Origine’s promoters on their boldness. To build a wood structure that tall, they had to demonstrate the project’s feasibility and compliance with all safety standards. Today’s ground-breaking ceremony shows that the Pointe-aux-Lièvres ecodistrict project is moving forward at a very good pace, with surfacing work set to begin soon and the July delivery of an all-wood, 59-unit social housing complex.”

The Origine green condo project is led by the NEB Consortium, whose members are construction company EBC Inc., solid wood structure manufacturer Nordic Structures, and promoter Synchro Immobilier. Major contributors include Natural Resources Canada, the Quebec Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, as well as partners Yvan Blouin Architecte, WSP Canada Inc. Génécor Experts-Conseils Inc., Groupe conseil SID Inc., Gestion immobilière Lafrance et Mathieu, and the Ville de Québec. — CNW Telbec

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