Intelligent City opens first robotically automated urban housing factory

John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, Ravinder Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation of British Columbia, and Oliver Lang, CEO of Intelligent City, controlling an industrial robot that can assemble mass timber floor panels

Based in British Columbia (BC), Canada, Intelligent City has begun building urban housing projects in the company’s new factory on River Road in North Delta after developing and commissioning its robotics technology to aid in providing breakthrough turn-key housing for developers, landowners, and housing operators.

Intelligent City develops and specialises in innovative urban housing, sustainability, building technology and design methodology, and has gained municipal approvals and broad government support for its mass timber building system and technology development. Founded in 2008 by co-founders Cindy Wilson and Oliver Lang, their mission is to empower people to live better urban lives.

“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,” Lang said.

Recently, Intelligent City won the Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada competition, plus the company has 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.

“When it comes to tackling the issues of climate change and housing, we know we need to be at leading edge of innovation,” said Ravinder Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation of British Columbia. “This type of tech and ingenuity are the type of solutions that advances BC’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 project totaling 2,880 homes in Canada and 1,400 homes in the US, many of which are supported by BC Wood.

The company also combines several technologies to design, manufacture, and deliver buildings as customisable one-stop solutions. An adaptable building platform made from large mass timber assemblies forms the foundation. As a fire-safe, structurally rigid, and sustainable building material, mass timber can be used for high-rise applications 18 storeys and higher.

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 customisation without causing any added complexities or cost. The result is a consistent and reliable yet individualised delivery process for buildings. The company is expected to deliver its first projects in early 2022 in Vancouver, BC.