Orchard Commons is the second of five mixed-use ‘hubs’ planned for University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Point Grey campus. Combining student housing, academic uses, and amenities into one facility, the intent is to invite diversity and social connection by bringing more activity and life to the heart of the campus. Drawing students from around the globe, Orchard Commons is home to a diverse group of first-year students, most of whom will be living away from home for the first time. As such, the mandate to cultivate positive social interactions through the fabric of the facility was key. These factors shaped the planning and a range of ‘social spaces’ have been integrated, including three-storey interconnected lounges in the two residential towers. Transparency, daylight, and wood are the prime expressions that support these spaces. At nearly a half-million square feet, Orchard Commons will provide 1,048 residence beds and dining facilities, with academic and administrative space for UBC Vantage College, an innovative program for international students that combines first-year studies with academic English programming. Additional amenities include a daycare with outdoor play area, gym, and creative study spaces. Embracing a generous outdoor public realm, the facility connects seamlessly with the campus’ network of pedestrian paths. An outdoor classroom and social seating invite interaction and connection fostering a vibrant public space for all. The facility is registered LEED Gold integrating a number of sustainability features including a campus scalable district energy utility, rainwater collection for landscape irrigation, and a high-performance thermal envelope. The unique façade of the residential towers provides a defining identity for the facility on campus. The shapes of the precast concrete cladding were optimized using computational techniques to maximize repetition while maintaining an interesting appearance while meeting UBC’s sustainable energy goals. Computational optimization resulted in a wall system that was very cost-effective and accelerated the schedule.