Project Essentials

  • LocationVancouver, BC
  • ClientCity of Vancouver
  • ArchitectPerkins + Will
  • Size4,285 ft² (398 m²)
  • BudgetC$0.8 million

This project came with an unusual mandate – to build with the recycled materials from a recently-demolished warehouse.

Armed only with a pocket calculator, measuring tape and conceptual program, Paul Fast and the architect conjured up a building with dimensions and construction method determined by the lengths and sizes of the materials available: a large pile of glulam purlins, heavy timber trusses and tongue and groove decking (which in former times might simply have gone to the landfill).

We realized early in the process there were more glulam purlins than we needed for conventional roof and floor beams, so we proposed the excess be laid flat and used to make a 130mm thick solid wood suspended floor. We then created two trusses by combining the best members from four existing ones, and added V-columns to reduce the span. This enabled us to keep existing connections that no longer conformed to code, and helped us compensate for the lower-than-anticipated grading of the salvaged lumber.


  • Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia

    2000 Award of Merit

The Materials Testing Facility utilized 95% recycled content and quickly became a beacon of sustainability long before LEED® certification came into effect.