Speed & Frances: A progressive and dynamic first-of-its-kind Mass Timber project in Canada
Introducing Mass Timber and housing affordability in a signature development from Mike Geric Construction
Mike Geric Construction has assembled an innovative and forward thinking team and tasked them with rethinking conventional development in the City of Victoria.
We are pleased to present the result of these efforts, a signature project, conceived from the ground up to address 2 core elements that are critical to the future of our city: future-proof, sustainable building technology and housing affordability.
Homes for Tomorrow
Led by architect Franc D’Ambrosio of D’AMBROSIO architecture + urbanism, the project is located on Speed Avenue in the heart of Victoria and consists of two multi-family residential buildings over one level of underground parking. The West building will be a 12-storey Mass Timber market mid-rise containing 179 homes. The East building will be a 6-storey wood-framed building with 66 homes featuring an affordable home ownership component. Both buildings are of different scales yet have a shared architectural expression, characterized by richly coloured brick-clad bases and luminous warm white facades.
Designed for Mass Timber but thoughtful to neighbourhood context
The main site frontage on Speed Avenue has been designed to retain and complement the beautiful London Plane trees that form the character of this neighbourhood street. Both the East and West buildings have main entrances on Speed, and the frontage is further activated by the arbor entrances and patios for the East Building’s ground-oriented units. Between the two buildings, a through-block lane connects Speed and Frances and functions as an informal local street, complete with side-walks, boulevard plantings, and entrances to the ground-oriented residential units
Wood is the most abundant and naturally renewable building material on the planet and has the lowest embodied energy of any primary building material. Mass Timber offers all the engineering benefits of traditional reinforced concrete construction while at the same time reducing the carbon emissions on production and with the added capacity to store carbon long-term (centuries) rather than emit carbon as concrete and steel do.
Benefits of Mass Timber
- Mass Timber building materials do not conduct sound as well as concrete or steel; as such, the buildings will be quieter than traditional concrete and steel construction
- Mass Timber building materials have higher insulative R-values, meaning the building will be warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and have lower overall heating costs than traditional concrete and steel buildings
- At 25% less mass than traditional concrete and steel construction, Mass Timber hybrid buildings (with concrete elevator shafts) are much less susceptible to damage during earthquakes
- Mass Timber construction materials easily meet or exceed all the building code requirements required of 35 MPa concrete, the product typically used in Canadian concrete and steel construction
Mass Timber Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL) columns and beams and Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) floor and wall panels are stronger than 35 Mpa reinforced concrete in shear capacity, tension, and compression. Mass Timber behaves extremely well in fire and is significantly more resistant to failure during fire events than light wood frame construction using dimensional lumber.
A portion of the 6-storey building will provide affordable homes to those who qualify based on household income. In partnership with BC Housing, this innovative approach will introduce diverse and inclusive housing options to a market that many Victorians have been priced out of.
Carshare & Parking
Studies show that vehicle ownership is reduced by 27% when residents are part of a two-way carsharing service. Two parking spaces in the development will be allocated to a Modo carshare program and the buildings will become a partner member of the program with a set number of free lifetime memberships available to homeowners or residents. The development will also sell parking spaces separate from the homes and limit the number of parking spaces purchased by each household; this strategy facilitates understanding of the full cost of vehicle ownership and will be attractive for non-vehicle owners.
Contributing to a Sustainable City
This project is in the centre of it all: a rich heritage, artisan industry, and interconnected and walkable amenities. A future transit node is planned for the Mayfair Town Center at Douglas and Finlayson, making it an ideal location for new housing that takes advantage of the transportation, employment and community services within the area.
We take great pride in our reputation as a trusted, local developer who plans and builds each of our developments carefully managing their success every step of the way.