Canadian Aerospace Showcase in Wood

29 August 2023

(BC) KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence – Mass Timber Spreads its Wings 

The vision for the building’s iconic mass timber structure all started with a simple napkin sketch by KF Aerospace’s founder and aviation enthusiast Barry Lapointe. The legacy project focuses on two key ideas: “make it feel like a plane” and “use wood wherever possible”. The design does just that: configured like an aircraft, the facility’s central two-storey hub “fuselage” is flanked by two wing-shaped hangars. Inspiration for the large sweeping and curved wooden roof draws heavily from aeronautical engineering. The building’s roof is made up of a series of strut and rib trusses to be framed in glue-laminated timber (glulam).

Calculating the best option – The solution came out of an in-depth exploration of airfoil shapes and wing structures. The design team determined the optimal structure using the latest computational design and 3D modelling software, with a focus on creating the lightest, most efficient wing structure achievable.

Evolutionary algorithms, an optimization method that evolves multiple sets of structural options, were used to converge the design towards the best structural solution. The roof structure is designed to collect rainwater and a prominent ‘tail’ feature serves as eye-catching signage for the building

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