Nature has a remarkable ability to design and produce what appear to be gravity-defying creations. Good structural engineering accomplishes the same thing. We achieved this at UBC’s new Orchard Commons complex. This multi-use project includes two 18-storey residential towers built over a large dining and recreational area. We used deep transfer beams to transfer the tower’s load through a limited number of columns. These beams then support 20-metre glulam beams, which hold up the wooden dining hall roof. The result is a large and dramatic open dining hall with a residential tower sitting directly on top of it.

With correct load transfers, remarkable structures become very achievable