March 1, 2013

Arts and Sciences Centre officially opens at UBC’s Okanagan campus

New academic and research facility benefits students and community
Castanet

Students and their professors have a strikingly beautiful, highly functional and energy-efficient new building in which to study and conduct research at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus.

Officially opened Friday morning, the multi-purpose Arts and Sciences Centre houses classrooms, research and teaching labs, offices, student commons, and two large lecture theatres.

UBC President Prof. Stephen Toope calls the $41.4-million Arts and Sciences Centre a place of discovery.

“Scholars will be able to innovate and collaborate with their peers around the world within the facilities of this new Arts and Sciences Centre,” said Toope. “It will enable UBC’s best academic minds to integrate their knowledge and wisdom with state-of-the-art technology to deliver exceptional learning experiences, ensuring our students get the best education available.”

Cynthia Mathieson, Dean of the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, told Friday’s opening ceremony her faculty is fortunate to share space in the Arts and Sciences Centre with graduate students from across many disciplines and students and professors from the Faculty of Health and Social Development.

“Collaboration — that’s the keyword for today,” said Mathieson. “We are in a space that not only drives collaborative research and inquiry, it is the product of collaboration between UBC and the Government of British Columbia.”

“We are proud to have invested over $27 million for the Arts and Sciences Centre,” says John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. “Our government has chosen to make education a top priority. We particularly want to ensure that BC remains a leader in delivering top-quality post-secondary education.”

The 7,800-square-metre (84,000 square feet), four-storey structure was designed by Vancouver-based Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd. in partnership with HMA Architects of Kelowna, with construction managed by Stuart Olson Dominion Construction.

The Arts and Sciences Centre provides a dramatic increase in space for the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, and the Faculty of Health and Social Development. Among the many laboratories and centres of research calling the new building home are:

  • The Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science and Law
  • The Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis
  • The Centre for the Study of Services to Children and Families
  • The Interprofessional Clinic, bringing together expertise from psychology, social work and nursing to provide mental and psychosocial health services to individuals and families in Okanagan communities.

In 2011, the Arts and Sciences Centre received the distinction of five Green Globes —  an award given only to select projects that embody leadership in sustainability, energy efficiency and design. To achieve superior indoor environmental quality and reduce energy consumption, the building employs a variety of design elements including:

  • Natural and wind-driven displacement ventilation designed to reduce air change requirements by 50 per cent
  • High thermal mass
  • Radiant slab heating and cooling
  • A district energy geothermal system that uses groundwater for heating and cooling, with the ability to share heat between buildings
  • Efficient fume exhaust systems and heat reclamation systems

This is the second official building opening celebrated by the university this year. UBC’s Engineering, Management, and Education building — which at 186,000 square feet is the largest project to be completed as part of the Okanagan campus construction protgram — was officially opened January 31.