Intelligent City opens automated urban housing factory

The company’s first-of-its-kind robotic mass timber factory opens in North Delta, British Columbia.

Intelligent City, the sister company to Vancouver architecture firm LWPAC, has begun building net-zero, mass timber urban housing projects in a newly opened factory on River Road in North Delta, British Columbia.

Image courtesy: Intelligent City

Intelligent City’s factory combines several technologies to design, manufacture, and deliver buildings as customizable one-stop solutions. An adaptable building platform made from large mass timber assemblies forms the foundation. Its co-founders Cindy Wilson and Oliver Lang, who have worked in architecture for 25 years, have led the company since its foundation in 2008.

The setup for the factory involved developing and commissioning robotic technology to facilitate manufacturing, with the goal of producing affordable, high-performance turn-key homes. This marks the completion of an extensive testing agenda to verify the performance of the company’s Platforms for Life (P4L) building system in accordance with the Encapsulated Mass Timber Construction (EMTC) building code.

“Today marks a very important milestone for Intelligent City. We are leading the housing industry through a product- and platform-based approach to address affordability, livability and climate change issues. We are now the first in the world to use advanced robotics to automatically assemble mass timber building systems that have been tested to meet the latest building code and net-zero standards,”  said Oliver Lang.

Recently, Intelligent City won the Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada competition, and the company has also received financial support from a variety of funding programs in Canada. The BC Government supported Intelligent City’s business with $460,000 in funding from the CleanBC Building Innovation Fund.

Product example. Image courtesy: Intelligent City

“When it comes to tackling the issues of climate change and housing, we know we need to be at the leading edge of innovation,” said Minister Ravi Kahlon. “This type of tech and ingenuity are the type of solutions that advances B.C.’s building sector in a sustainable way. Using mass timber is key to creating a more resilient forest sector. It’s the construction material of the future and it allows us to rethink what’s possible. We are happy to support these types of projects through our CleanBC building innovation fund.”

Intelligent City is focused on the construction of mid-to-high-rise urban housing as well as commercial buildings through the convergence of mass timber, design engineering, automated manufacturing, and proprietary software. The company is currently working on projects totaling 2,880 homes in Canada and 1,400 homes in the U.S., many of which are supported by BC Wood.

To offer flexibility, the company has integrated its building platform in a proprietary automated software and manufacturing workflow. Both allow for a high level of customization without creating additional complexities or cost. The company is expected to deliver its first projects in early 2022 in Vancouver, BC.