Second Award | Institutional Building (Concept)

University of British Columbia Student Union Building

The new Student Union Building will be a unique destination that serves as a dynamic gathering place for students to interact and grow a vibrant student community on the campus. Centrally located, this outstanding facility will feature the highest levels of sustainable building design that will serve as a model for future developments at the university.

Firm Name: DIALOG and B+H Architects
Participant  Name: Jennifer Zatser
Country : Canada

The Centre aims for LEED Platinum+ Certification, with considerations for the Living Building Challenge. In particular the team has investigated both Net Zero Energy and Water points with the building designed to take advantage of future technologies to meet these ambitious targets.

Innovation and transferability – Progress: 30% of total energy consumption will be supplied through solar thermal and Photovoltaic arrays. The heating system is a low-temperature radiant thermo-active, high thermal mass structure. The cooling system operates an adsorption chiller powered by both excess heat from district steam condensate return loop heat (waste heat) and from solar thermal panels (also powering domestic hot water). This is forefront energy technology whose implementation and visual display will promote its adoption.

Ethical standards and social equity – People: The students wished for a building that supports a model community, that sustainably promotes human contact and inspiration. The design actively embodies many of these aspirations including an urban farm roof garden, student wash stations for home brought food utensils, bicycle retail, rental and mechanic (a student club), restaurants that promote healthy food, and more. It also embodies more global desires, including 100 year old construction materials, the use of local renewable products, all decisions explicitly sustainable.

Environmental quality and resource efficiency – Planet: 30% of total energy is powered by solar energy. Mandate to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Ultra low energy building: 85 ekWh/m2 targeted energy intensity. Passively ventilated. Daylight harvesting for most spaces. Storm water re-use for toilets, irrigation and process water. Concrete structure with high percentage supplementary cementing materials. Low-temperature thermo-active exposed concrete structure. Heavily monitored and metered building systems for maintenance and re-commissioning.

Economic performance and compatibility – Prosperity: The funds for this project have been ambitiously raised by the Students and the debt is entirely serviced through student operations including food services and retail within the new facility. The student’s high ambitions are therefore economically reflected in in the design response.

Contextual and aesthetic impact – Proficiency: Each elevation is uniquely addressed, materially and formally (sunshades, % of openings) to improve their performance and aspect. The west façade comprises one wall of a new campus square surrounding an existing landscaped hill, a place for student leisure and protest. Our project embraces this hill, bringing its form inside, making it the central feature of a five storey sky-lit atrium; the social nexus for the facility, the place to meet, eat, talk, watch. This Agora, is further enlivened by a variety of flexible rooms and stairs that make obvious connections between the floors; fostering social interaction. The lower two floors are open and see through to promote pedestrian connections across the campus. All aspects of the design have been considered in the context of sustainability, much of the structure and sky lights take advantage of the local market for rapid growth trees. The roof is either landscaped, including a large Urban Farm or it has solar hydronic or pv panels.

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