VANCOUVER, B.C. — The University of British Columbia (UBC) unveiled the completion of second phase work on its Undergraduate Biosciences Complex in Vancouver.
The building’s new wing was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects with HDR Inc. School officials stated that the work will enhance the interdisciplinary learning for a wide range of bioscience disciplines in light-filled spaces around a transformed quadrangle.
The wing features state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories and versatile, active learning environments for 2,000 students. According to Diamond Schmitt, the design unifies the complex while clarifying circulation and accessibility with two existing wings.
The project’s energy efficiency gains have also put the facility on track for LEED Gold certification.
“Sustainable initiatives informed our design to create a highly functional and aesthetic environment for the Biosciences Complex, inspired by connections to nature and connections with the campus to reinforce the significant role of this facility at UBC,” said Donald Schmitt, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects in a press release.
A gateway to the quadrangle features a fully glazed cantilevered lounge perched above the main northwest entrance to create an arrival point beneath a sheltered wood soffit connecting into the courtyard. The courtyard was enlarged by the demolition of the Centre Wing, built in 1948.
“The Biosciences Courtyard is designed as an outdoor teaching platform that includes both indigenous plants and plant collections of the Biology department and strengthen UBC’s commitment to create a Campus as Living Laboratory,” said Peggy Theodore, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The facilities new four-storey East Wing and renovations to the 40-year-old North Wing complete the quadrangle formed with the West and South Wings, which were renewed in 2011. The new student labs feature custom casework and ventilation systems while classrooms, offices and informal spaces achieve heating through a variety of energy-efficient methods.
The facility feature Biophilic design elements inspired by the biosciences program. These include frit patterns on glazing modelled on a stem cell image and the patterns on dragonfly wings. The reimagined and reconfigured complex “will further enable UBC to attract leading life sciences researchers and ensure our students are inspired to innovate and discover in exceptional learning facilities,” said Santa J. Ono, president and vice chancellor, UBC.