Defined by sun floods, through views, and candy-coloured stairwells, the new, six-storey Passive House Skeena residence provides 220 modified traditional bedrooms and support amenities. Completing an ensemble of buildings surrounding the Commons lawn at UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC, the residence provides easy access to outdoor green space for picnics, fitness, or just hanging around.

Project Name: UBCO Skeena Residence
Studio Name: Public Architecture + Communication
Project size:
6750 m2
Site size: 4388 m2
Project Budget: $18000000
Completion date: 2020
Building levels: 6
Location: Kelowna, BC, Canada
Photography: Andrew Latreille

UBCO Skeena Residence by PUBLIC Architecture + Communication - Sheet1
Exterior View ©Andrew Latreille

More than with conventional building methodologies, an integrated design process is vital to achieving Passive House. A conventional design process begins with broad strokes and becomes further refined with each iteration.

UBCO Skeena Residence by PUBLIC Architecture + Communication - Sheet2
Seating Space ©Andrew Latreille

With Passive House, however, details rule: even fasteners become an essential element because of their ability to conduct heat. Designing the details in preliminary phases allows for accurate energy modeling.

UBCO Skeena Residence by PUBLIC Architecture + Communication - Sheet3
Staircase ©Andrew Latreille

The Passive House process accelerates decision-making and is heavily weighted toward preliminary design with significant time and cost savings achieved by working through problems in the beginning. Energy invested early in the design pays off over the lifetime of the building. To demonstrate the efficiency of the residence: at the coldest point in the year, more than ¼ of the heat required for the building is supplied by student body heat.

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