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Introducing: The Rise stadium seating

It’s no secret that mass timber is making a comeback in the world of construction. Using large pieces of solid wood to build comes with a long list of benefits. Compared to steel or concrete, timber is far more sustainable. A value more organizations are embracing every day. It’s a renewable, natural material. It can be quickly installed. It’s durable over time. And, aesthetically it brings warmth and earthy textures to the built environment. This makes it a great material for those looking to bring biophilic design into their space.

So, when DIRTT needed to build a large gathering space at our headquarters, timber frame was the natural (pun intended) choice. Since our team is growing quickly, we needed to create a meeting space for town halls and large client presentations. It also had to be a breakout flex space for employee collaboration. And, as always, we wanted to inspire our clients. This project could show them what modular timber is capable of. Structurally, visually and functionally.

The vision our design team crafted? A one-of-a-kind, DIRTT-manufactured timber stadium-seating area connecting our first and second levels.


The design process

How do you create stadium-style bleachers that maintain the overarching resimercial feel that is key our office? Timber was a good start. Our internal design team decided to use a clear finish to highlight the beauty of the wood. The structure had to be huge, impressive and striking, but they worked to maintain a warm, organic feel.

This gave birth to The Rise. The name reflects the design intent that inspired this area. We wanted to come together, share ideas and elevate each other. To rise to new levels and help our clients to do the same.

Render Render

Design review was key to the project. It helped us confirm that this new timber structure would fit cohesively with the rest of our office. We know firsthand how powerful virtual reality is during the design process. That’s why once we had a preliminary concept, we put our ICEreality mobile app to use. During our team’s interactive experience, they could see how the timber would look once installed. It was a window into our future space. Just like our clients who experience VR, we used ICEreality to tweak the design to ensure we’d get exactly what we want. And because these changes happened early in the process, we could still stick to our lightning-fast project schedule. Once the design was perfected, our Calgary timber factory began manufacturing. Our Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines worked their magic. The entire structure was prefabricated with extreme precision. Then it was time to install.

Design review with ICEreality Design review with ICEreality

The build

Having construction take place during working hours is nothing new to our employees. DIRTT’s Calgary headquarters evolves on a daily basis. New meeting rooms. Additional phone booths or workstations. Taking out walls to make getting around the office easier. It’s a space that continuously responds to the current needs of our team. We don’t have to take our employees out of the space and lose productivity. We don’t have to compromise by only building after hours. We maintain business as usual during our installs. And this massive timber addition was no exception.

Thanks to our prefab approach, the install was fast. Glue-laminated timber was used for the beams because of its strength. And the build began by laying out the angled posts as the structural skeleton. Then the meat of the structure was installed to make risers. It was finished off with side and middle railings for safety. In all, the structural portion of this build took just six business days.

Beginning stages of the build Beginning stages of the build
Installing modular timber components Installing modular timber components

Seeing is believing. So, here’s a time-lapse of all the action. Note our employees working away, unbothered, in the background.

Rapid construction
Video thumbnail

The Rise

Here are some photos of the completed structure: 

Collaboration hub Collaboration hub
The completed stadium seating The completed stadium seating
A space to gather A space to gather

Looking to the future

Timber is just as customizable as any other DIRTT solution in our portfolio. We usually see this material used for canopies and structural framing. But this install shows another great possibility. We always say our best applications come from the creativity of our clients and their design teams. We’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to the potential of timber frame.  

Connect First, Calgary Connect First, Calgary
GM Financial, San Antonio GM Financial, San Antonio

Building The Rise gave us a look at the future of office spaces. Being able to make adjustments, small or large without disrupting your office is powerful. Because the vision for every organizations is always changing. Or at least it should be. Your team sets goals to grow, shift and advance. And your space needs to keep up.

To dive into other ways that timber can elevate your space, check out another timber blog post.  


DIRTT Environmental Solutions uses its 3D software to create prefabricated interiors. Each space is tailored to our clients' needs. Manufacturing facilities are located in Phoenix, Savannah and Calgary. DIRTT works with nearly 100 construction partners globally. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.