Wood, Wood, Wood! An Architect’s Food For Thought –Part 1

We have an ethic that the earth grows our food, says Green. We should move toward an ethic that the earth should grow our homes.” (TED Blog)

The recent 2013 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards featured the inspiring projects of winning architects and structural engineers located in and around Vancouver and the Gulf Islands. The purpose of 9th annual awards ceremony was to showcase, promote and acknowledge cutting-edge wood architecture and design that is sustainable. Wood Works!, a program launched by the Canadian Wood Council, receives support and funding from both federal and provincial governments to promote awareness and education around the use of wood.

Here is an outstanding multi-unit residential project that received an award in wood design!

Multi-Unit Residential Wood Design | Oliver Lang MRAIC, LWPAC Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture - Monad, Vancouver BC


This project, termed MONAD, represents excellence in urban residential infill development. MONAD, as suggested in an article by Canadian Architect, is quite the bold name for a residential development as it reflects Leibniz’s principle of the basic indivisible and indestructible building-block unit of the universe. This, according to the architects, Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture, denotes the efficiency of such built form, one that is at a largely untapped in-between scale.

It is a housing model that the architects developed with the vision of a flexible platform that has the capacity to evolve in the face of the changing needs of the future. MONAD was built by brining in off-site prefabrication, using woodframe modular construction. Further, adding to its ingenuity, MONAD is amongst the first to combine the best of LEED Gold, Passive House and Living Building standards for this typology, resulting in a significant reduction in energy consumption with zero on site CO2 emissions.


This diagram provides a glimpse into the sustainable properties of MONAD. Some of the elements featured here include: In-floor radiant heating and cooling, solar screens, solar thermal panels, roof gardens and a green roof.

Such design excellence is one that does not come around frequently. Thus, recognizing design that is environmentally, socially and aesthetically unique and sustainable is an important element in supporting such practices. MONAD is undeniably design that represents the future of city building in Canada and around the world. It demonstrates a desire on the part of individuals for architecture and built form with distinction –that is not something to be dismissed.

Architecture by: Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture

Photograph courtesy of: Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture

Researched and Written by: Julia Borowicz
Urban Studies and Human Geography
University of Toronto, Undergraduate Studies

Posted In: British Columbia

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