ASPECT + Business Continuity + Public Health

On March 14th, 2020 ASPECT Structural Engineers adopted a work-from-home policy for our offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Switzerland.

What this means for our clients and how have we changed our day-to-day practice:

  1. We've leveraged our existing IT systems to make this transition (relatively) seamless and anticipate little-to-no interruption in our service.
  2. Aspect will attend all coordination meetings as scheduled digitally. We are happy to facilitate digital meeting spaces; please reach out if you would like assistance with this.
  3. We have suspended all business-related international travel and will work with you to ensure that our participation in meetings and design charrettes carry out digitally per above.
  4. Site reviews for local projects will continue as normal. Plan for our engineers to reach out beforehand to ensure appropriate health precautions and social distancing.
  5. Site reviews for non-local projects will be performed on a case-by-case basis.  We will continue to rely on digital inspection methods, and engage local consultants as needed to ensure limited impact on construction schedules.
  6. The Aspect offices will be closed to all non-staff. Enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures have, and will remain, in place for the foreseeable future.

We are committed to these measures in the interest of public health and will monitor the appropriate channels and provide an update once we are able to revert to the "old normal".

We hope this message finds you safe and healthy and we look forward to continuing to work on amazing projects for our amazing clients!

We are here to help. Please feel free to Contact Us with any questions.


ULI Toronto: Mass Timber Construction MasterClass

Join Aspect Principal Bernhard Gafner at ULI Toronto for a Mass Timber Construction MasterClass, February 25, 2020. This class is designed for those interested in building with mass timber who want to explore the advantages as well as the procedures:

Planning, designing and building a mass timber building is radically different than a conventional structure. Understanding how it is different, advantages, constraints, timelines, risks etc. are key to market adoption in order to realize the benefits. This session is designed to be a master class by Bernhard Gafner that will provide attendees with an intimate knowledge of what it means to plan, design, procure and construct a mass timber building.

Register at ULI Toronto


Cover image is Dream/CityScape mass timber Distillery Ribbon building designed by SHoP Architects & Quadrangle. 

Side Walk Talk: Exploring the Future of Mass Timber Building

Sidewalk Toronto is a proponent of mass timber, a sustainable new building material with great potential for efficient factory production. The Aspect team is proud to be part of the engineering team on this state of the art project. Learn all about the Sidewalk Toronto Proposal, a new approach to inclusive urban growth.

We also invite you to explore Side Walk Talk a blog where technologists and urbanists discuss the future of cities:

We think timber buildings could be even taller, so we spent the past year working with a world-class team of architects, engineers, and environmental designers to create a mass timber "proto-model" at 35 stories  — a height yet to be achieved in practice. We call this project Proto-Model X, or PMX. What's a proto-model, you ask? Associate Director of Development Cara Eckholm explains that and more in a PMX mini series on the Sidewalk Talk blog.

Their blog will take you through this project and the potential of mass timber building:

  • Introducing PMX: Our model for how tall timber buildings could work in cities (Introduction)
  • How to design a timber building that can reach 35 stories (Part 1)
  • How to design a timber building that's easy to make in a factory (Part 2)
(Image: Michael Green Architecture and Gensler)

Tall Wood Buildings Hoped to Boost Lumber Sector

Check out the Global Okanagan News footage of our associate Ilana Danzig discussing the future of Mass-Timber buildings in BC.

The story covered the The Wood Design Luncheon Conference in Kelowna. These annual conferences in two BC locations feature presentations on current topics in architecture, engineering, design and construction with wood by experts in wood design and building while suppliers are on hand with their exhibits to answer questions about wood products and systems. The same three presentations are given in each location. Learn more about the conference...

This year Ilana presented on:

Tall Wood Case Studies in Canada
Ilana Danzig | P.Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE | Associate – Aspect Engineering
Review and discussion of two tall mass timber buildings: A 12-storey building and a 30+ storey building. Discussions will included the structural system, fire requirements, lateral load considerations, opportunities for prefabrication, and the new 2020 NBCC Encapsulated Mass Timber construction type.

Go to the 12:45 mark of this video to see the Mass-Timber story:

The International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019)

Join our principals Bernhard Gafner and Mehrdad Jahangiri at the 25th International Wood Construction Conference (IHF), December 4th–6th 2019 at Innsbruck, Congress Centrum
Practical experience – Practical application
The International Wood Construction Conference (IHF2019) provides architects, engineers and builders with an opportunity to report on experiences, processes and goals related to wood structures and construction. At the same time, the conference provides an opportunity for architects, building officials, builders, craftspeople, practitioners and educators to learn about the latest developments and to exchange experiences.

Bernhard Gafner a principal at  ASPECT Structural Engineers will present on the friday morning:
Practical experiences with respect to bracing concepts for 12-storey wooden high-rise buildings under consideration of wind and earthquake loads.

Learn more about the conference...



New mass timber projects a glimmer of hope for B.C. forestry industry

Our Associate, Ilana Danzig was featured on CTV News to discuss the possible growth of the BC forestry industry because of changes to the building code:

Starting in 2020, the national building code of Canada will allow for mass timber buildings to be constructed across the country. Currently, buildings made of wood are only allowed to stand six storeys high. After the mass timber policy change next year, buildings will be permitted to stand up to 12 storeys tall.

The increase in size and scale of wooden buildings could help revitalize the forestry industry, according to professionals in the field.

Ilana discussed one of our current projects, Terminus and Tallwood in Langford, BC:

"There's an explosion in mass timber projects right now that we're seeing in B.C. and all through Canada and all throughout the U.S.," said Ilana Danzig, a structural engineer for Langford's upcoming Tallwood 1 building.

"Mass timber is a very hot item. There's going to be very high demand both on the design side and the supply side," said Danzig.

Read the full article by Adam Chan... 

Oakville Firestation No.8 CLT Install

Oakville Firestation No.8 CLT install in progress. ASPECT is the specialty mass timber engineer working under Element5 Co. who is responsible for the supply of the mass timber package. is providing the install.

Follow us on Linkedin to stay up-to-date with all our industry news!

Cardinal House: A Healthy, Resilient, Mass-Timber Home For First Nations Communities

ASPECT is proud to be part of the team that developed the Cardinal House. A new home designed to meet the specific needs of First Nations peoples and constructed to withstand the harsh climates where their communities are situated.

The issue of insufficient and sometimes unsuitable housing is one that has plagued Canada’s First Nations for decades. It is a complex problem beset by environmental, logistical, infrastructure and governance challenges. It’s clear that innovative ideas and new ways of thinking must prevail.

ASPECT is the engineer of record for this project and is also responsible for all the mass timber engineering:

The benefits of mass timber construction go far beyond their aesthetic and environmental attributes. Mass timber offers a versatile, high-performance building solution that can meet even the most demanding requirements. The innovative, affordable, energy-efficient home is built out of cross-laminated timber, with high-performance cross-laminated insulated panels (CLIPs) for the building envelope. Prefabricated in a controlled factory setting off-site and shipped on a single truck, the structural panels and roof for the prototype Cardinal House were assembled in a fraction of the time of traditionally built, light frame homes.

Visit Element5's website to learn more about this project.

Meet the Associates – Duncan Bourke

We are proud to announce that Duncan Bourke (P.Eng., B.Sc) has joined the ASPECT team as an associate in our Toronto office. Duncan has over a decade of experience working alongside industry leaders with a focus on timber design-build projects. With a sound foundation in consulting on a wide variety of structures, Duncan also has extensive experience managing timber design-build operations. By taking projects from inception to completion, Duncan has a true understanding of what it takes to provide an efficient, practical and effective design.

Since graduating from Dalhousie University, Duncan has worked on several high-profile projects in Canada and Australia. His experience as a Design-Build Project Manager provides insight into the sourcing of innovative, effective and efficient materials, connections and fasteners. Duncan’s ability to foresee design, fabrication and installation challenges consistently results in complete, accurate and achievable designs.

To compliment his unique set of skills in timber design, Duncan also has experience working in concrete, steel and masonry, understanding that a combination of materials often provides the best structural system. Duncan’s experience in mass-timber design and project management compliments ASPECT’s reputation as an industry leader.

Duncan is registered to practice in British Columbia and Ontario. His extensive design portfolio includes mass timber mid-rise, schools, university buildings, community centres, botanical gardens, indigenous centres, commercial buildings, museums, art installations and a wide variety of residential projects.

When away from the office, Duncan enjoys spending time with his young family exploring the great outdoors and traveling.





The RMIT Garden Building*

The RMIT Garden Building is a 4-storey multi-purpose greenspace in the Central Business District campus of RMIT University in Melbourne. The primary structure consists of square glulam columns and long primary glulam beams. Spanning between the primary beams are long TCC panels with glulam beams and concrete topping. A 3D structural analysis of the lateral load resisting system including a combination of glulam bracing and a masonry core was performed to ensure all elements were detailed effectively to resist the lateral loads.


NMBW | Melbourne, Australia

The Ribbon Building

The Ribbon Building

The Ribbon building is a new development in the Distillery District that runs nearly the full length along the southern border of the district. A 29-story tower with a “heritage feel” and timber interior that creates the feeling of an old industrial warehouse. Learn More…


ShoP Architects | Toronto, Canada

Sea to Sky Elevated Tree Walk

Sea to Sky Elevated Tree Walk

This iconic structure has been designed to integrate into nature from all angles and viewpoints. The tree walk will gently wind around a structure that draws visitors from the base, through the treetops, and up high into the clouds. The spiral architecture will not only offer panoramic open-air views, but will also provide cover over the walkway for a year-round. Learn More…


Sea to Sky Gondola | Squamish, BC

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens*

Van Dusen Botanical Gardens*

Designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, the most rigorous set of requirements of sustainability. Formally and functionally, it encompasses the goals of environmentally and socially conscious design. The building is an undulating landscape of interior and exterior spaces rising from ground to roof level and providing a vast surface area on which vegetation could grow, thus reoccupying the land on which the building sits with the landscape. Learn more…


Perkins+ Will | Vancouver, BC

Swinburne University Factory of the Future*

Swinburne University Factory of the Future*

A two storey high timber ball in the centre of the Factory space acts as a divider, and accommodator of interactive collaboration. Manufactured from a curved timber substructure covered with a panelised curved timber ply skin creating a seamless appearance for this unique timber structure. Learn more…


H2o Architects | Melbourne, Australia

Musqueam Pavilion*

Musqueam Pavilion*

Built for 2010 Olympics, this pavilion’s brilliant architecture was inspired by the traditional woven cedar hat used by Indigenous people across the region.


Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden | Vancouver, BC

*Work performed prior to joining ASPECT



ASPECT is thrilled to have Duncan as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business, learn more about our Associates.


Meet the Associates – Ilana Danzig

We are proud to announce that Ilana Danzig (P.Eng., M.Eng., PE, SE) has joined the ASPECT team as an associate in our Vancouver office. Ilana graduated from the University of Alberta in 2008 with a Bachelor's of Science in Civil Engineering, and began her career in Vancouver, BC working mainly on institutional projects, recreation facilities, and seismic retrofits. In 2012, Ilana attended the University of British Columbia for a Master's in Structural Engineering studying dynamics, seismic design, and mass timber structures. Her research focused on mass timber engineering in high-seismic zones, particularly connections for CLT diaphragms and shearwalls.

With over a decade of structural engineering experience, Ilana has worked on a wide range of projects in Canada and the US including the UBC Aquatic Centre, the Audain Art Museum, and the Oregon State University College of Forestry.

Experienced in all materials, she is passionate in structural mass timber design and seismic engineering. In her role as Associate at ASPECT, Ilana contributes to the continual improvement of the firm's technical and quality standards, and enthusiastically provides mentorship to our up-and-coming engineers.







The design of two mass timber buildings located in Langford, BC is currently underway: Terminus (5 stories, office) and Tallwood (12 stories, residential). The structural systems have been carefully chosen for each building to balance cost, functionality, and performance. Learn more…


Jack James Architect | Langford, BC

UBC Aquatic Centre*

UBC Aquatic Centre*

A sectional split brings light deep into the center of the natatorium plan, where it is reflected or diffused to provide required natural lighting condition. Fully accessible and inclusive, while visually symbolizing the eminent venue of international competition. Designed to LEED Gold standards, the project focuses on daylighting, innovative water re-use and air quality strategies that are precedent-setting for North American aquatic facilities. Learn More…


Acton Ostry Architects / MJMA | Vancouver, BC

Radium Hot Springs Community Centre*

Radium Hot Springs Community Centre*

The Radium Hot Springs Community Hall and Library was built using an innovative DLT roof structure supported by glue laminated timber (glulam) beams and columns.  Local sourcing was integrally important to the project. This project as featured on naturally:wood


Urban Arts Architecture | Radium, BC

OSU Advanced Wood Products Center*

OSU Advanced Wood Products Center*

The Oregon Forest Science Complex uses advanced wood products including cross-laminated timber made in Oregon. The complex showcases Oregon State’s premier forestry and wood science initiatives and devotion to improving our forest landscapes and ecosystems. Learn More.


Michael Green Architecture | Corvallis, OR

Audain Art Museum*

Audain Art Museum*

A beautiful, dynamic project that literally wraps users around nature, blurring the boundaries between man-made and natural. It creates a cultural magnet to help educate not only art, but eco-friendly design. Featured in Architect Magazine.


Patkau Architects | Whistler, BC

*Work performed prior to joining Aspect



Ilana not only has engineered many state of the art building she also gives back to the engineering community through her publications and talks such as:

The Audain Art MuseumPublished in Structural Engineering International 2017
Cross-laminated timber shear connections with double-angled self-tapping screw assembliePublished in ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering2016
Technical Guide for the Design and Construction of Tall Wood Buildings in CanadaContributor and Peer Reviewer – Published by FPInnovations2013
Mass Timber Lateral Framing SystemsWood Solutions Fairs throughout the US with WoodWorks2017
Mass Timber ConnectionsLecture tour through Texas with WoodWorks2017
Timber Design: The Next GenerationConferences in Victoria and Kelowna with WoodWORKS! BC2015


ASPECT couldn't be happier to have Ilana as a key member of our team. Our Associates are some of the best in the structural engineering business, learn more about our Associates.