The Arts Student Centre at the University of British Columbia is conceived as a compact 11,000 square-foot three-storey building - a multi-purpose facility that provides a new home for the Arts Undergraduate Society and Faculty of Arts students. The radial plan was developed as a response to the context - a somewhat idiosyncratic condition with the building situated at the corner of an intersection while also within the context of a larger continuous campus commons. Multiple building forms were tested on the site - those with square edges were perceived to break the field of the commons.
The program is organized with increasingly private spaces organized vertically upwards through the building. The ground floor lounge space is an extension of the public realm and features a high degree of visual transparency. The second floor is a more focused multi-purpose social space that was designed to be adaptable across multiple scenarios - daily studies, lectures, and private social functions. The upper floor consists of administration offices, study rooms, and quiet study spaces. An interior atrium connects the second and third floors, providing a spacious double-height volume with clerestory glazing for both daylighting and ventilation. Utility and storage spaces have been situated underground with the intention of maximizing the usable above-grade floor area.
The building envelope is layered with vertical louvres to provide solar protection from oblique sun angles, while also mediating privacy and visual connection to neighbouring campus buildings. Passive heating and cooling are employed as part of an overall strategy to achieve LEED Gold Certification.
Through creative and innovative programming the new space will improve the academic and social lives of the Arts students of the Vancouver campus, providing necessary amenities to support the learning and social collaboration of the diverse student population. The centre will provide a ‘common ground’ for the students to interact across disciplines. The facility will include a range of targeted activity spaces to support creative engagement and social interaction - including media and graphics production spaces, video conference spaces, a student-run art gallery, as well as a lounge and café. There is also a dedicated multi-use space used for increasing collaborative engagement with faculty groups. The new facility will also act as the site to welcome all new UBC Arts students, providing them with resources for their first year and integration into campus life.