Schmidt Hammer Lassen transforms historic entrance to University of British Columbia

A new gateway building at the historic entrance to the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus will reflect the university’s reputation as a world class university. The 25,000-square-meter (270,000-square-foot) health science academic and research building will symbolize the university’s commitments as well as clinical spaces, lecture theaters and class-rooms, gym and fitness facilities, and administrative functions.

“At this landmark site, UBC seeks to demonstrate its commitments to its relationship with the Musqueam host nation, zero carbon design, fiscal responsibility, and advancing academic excellence in health and well-being”, says Gerry McGeough, director of planning and design at UBC. “The Schmidt Hammer Lassen and Perkins&Will team have clearly risen to the challenge of weaving these mul-tiple aspirations into a compelling facility and design that is fitting for the gateway to our campus.”

Image © VISMO

The project centers around a design that considers diverse needs—from students, faculty, and staff to members of the greater community that represent all ages—through clear and accessible circulation paths, inclusive washrooms and change rooms, and comfortable and inviting spaces that incorporate natural materi-als. A generous public plaza and landscaping will invite people into the public space that flows throughout the building.

“Creating a comfortable, inviting building for everyone to enjoy was an important design goal for out team”, says Jana Foit, principal at Perkins&Will. “We focused on creating high quality spaces with ample daylight, access to views outside, and warm and natural materials to fulfill UBC’s commitment to acknowledge the unceded territory of the Musqueam, sustainability, and health.”

Image © VISMO

Zero Carbon Building
The Gateway building supports UBC’s sustainability goals and commitments and aims to be the university’s first building to meet the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Standard, which includes passive design strategies such as a high-performance envelope, high efficiency mechanical sys-tems, and reduces embodies carbon. It is also targeting a minimum of LEED v4 Gold certification.

As a way to lower the embodies carbon of the project, the design team has proposed using exposed mass timber for the building’s structure. Timber also promotes health and wellness through its biophilic properties. Representative of traditional and Indigenous building materials, wood also providesa a warmth that would help create a welcoming entry to campus.

Image © VISMO

Indigenous Engagement
Acting on UBC’s commitment to Indigenous reconciliation, the project aims to acknowledge the host nation’s past and current presence and serves as a catalyst and model for future Musqueam engagement on campus. The design intends to express commonalities between Musqueam values, culture, and learning learning and the UBC Gateway environmental and wellness goals.

The building will offer a generous, naturally lit, welcom-ing environment for human comfort, and take inspiration from traditional Musqueam building materials and design. The building will be set in a landscape that considers the site site-specific ecology, and the role of the land beneath the pavement and its plant life in supporting human wellness and learning.

Image © VISMO

The design team incorporated the university’s commitment to support healthcare, health promotion, and well-being into the building design. For example, a central daylight-filled six-story atrium with large interconnecting stairs reaching from the basement to the upper lfoors encourages physical activity.

Conceived as an exten-sion of the public realm and the social heart of the building, the atrium’s open layout and visible central spaces will help to foster interdisciplinary collaboration—nurturing health-focused innovation and research. Extensive windows on the ground fllor will provide an immediate connection to the landscaped outdoor environment. In addition, the project will use nontoxic materials and finishes. Source by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

Image © VISMOLocation: Granville, Vancouver, CanadaArchitect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen ArchitectsCollaboration: Perkins&Will, VancouverSize: 25,000 m2Year: 2021Images: VISMO, Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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