The First Mass Timber Boutique Hotel in North America
The first of its kind in North America, Magdalena Hotel consists of three buildings: one 4-storey, one 3-storey and one 2-storey. The primary structure for the interior hotel rooms is DLT panels on light wood frame bearing/shear walls. The panels are exposed at the ceiling, creating a warm and welcoming aesthetic in the rooms. Each building has an exterior exposed walkway structure which is composed of gapped timber panels on Glulam substructure – the wood is exposed on both sides (floor and ceiling). There are several other custom timber scope elements including DLT elevator and stair shafts, hanging balconies, hybrid timber/steel staircases and a stand-alone porte-cochere at the entrance.
StructureCraft, as engineer-builder, joined the project team early as structural engineer of record for the timber superstructure. We worked closely with Lake Flato Architects through SD, DD and CD phases leading to Building Permit drawings. While finishing CD drawings, we were already busy creating 3d models and shop drawings which led to the procurement and shop fabrication of all the custom pre-fabricated elements.
Design & Engineering
StructureCraft brought our expertise in engineering of timber and all materials, working closely alongside Lake Flato Architects to bring together both beauty and structural integrity .
Our engineering department integrated the interior SPF DLT panels and exterior gapped Douglas Fir walkway panels into design, which are highly visible in the hotel rooms and walkways. Our design team successfully supported the floor panels with glulam columns and beams at exterior walkways, and all the wood structures rest on either post-tensioned concrete or slab-on-grade.
As part of our construction phase scope, we performed the detailed engineering and 3D modeling/planning required to ensure the pieces of the puzzle would not only fit together on site, but also meet the high quality required by the owner and architect. This also required extensive BIM coordination with the other trades.
Given the extensive amount of exterior exposed timber, design for durability was a focus, ensuring the materials, connections and finishes chosen would stand the test of time.
All the mass timber used in Magdalena was prefabricated at StructureCraft’s plant. This allowed for quick on-site installation. Our team built and executed QC on every piece of wood that left our shop, including the floor and wall panels, both interior and exterior.
We created custom “gapped” board panels to be used at the exterior walkway as both the underside soffit as well as the walking surface. We performed many early tests on these panels to ensure rainwater would pass through and the structure would be breathable. High quality timber and steel coatings were used. The gapped wood panels were also oriented in the path of walking travel to reduce luggage noise near the hotel rooms.
We provided many early stain samples to the architect, for both interior and exterior timber. Given the desire for a warm, dark stain for the hotel unit ceilings, we worked with custom coatings mixes to ensure a consistent finish with no blotches. Given the direct exposure of much exterior timber to the sun and weather, the decision was made to stain the surface with a “weathered” coating which would create a consistent gray colour tone rather than the variegated tones that would occur with natural weathering. These coatings were all shop applied and preserved during shipping, to save on both money and schedule, which would have been significant if applied on site.
Acoustic design was also a key early consideration. To meet the necessary STC/IIC ratings, a sound isolation mat was placed over the DLT panels along with a 3” concrete topping. Particular to the residential nature of the project, early research was done to study inter-room acoustic flanking. To treat this phenomenon (which has caused issues in other mass timber residential projects) we lined the stud party walls with acoustic damping strips.
Even the stud walls were complex given the custom shape and edge conditions of these buildings. We modelled every wall and had them shop fabricated to allow for quick installation.
We used full height DLT shaft walls for the elevators and egress stairs, which allowed extremely rapid erection as well as an exposed interior timber surface.
The StructureCraft team erected all prefabricated elements for the 3 hotel buildings.