February 27, 2009

Eliminating the Gap Between Theory and Practice

Kasian positions BCIT as a gateway to the aerospace industry
World Architecture News
Adjacent to Vancouver International Airport and the Fraser River, located on an environmentally sensitive riverfront, the design brief for BCIT’s Aerospace Technology Campus featured numerous challenges, including proximity to highway frontage, its position on an overhead flight path and its planned location on a sloped, triangular site.

The brief also outlined the need for a landmark gateway to the campus; a facility geared towards combining theory and hands-on learning, and towards attraction / retention of students and faculty staff. The client envisioned the creation of a “hanger-centric” sense of place designed to double student capacity, address ambient noise and deliver a world-class institution marking Vancouver as gateway to aerospace industry.
The 308,678 sq ft, CDN$65-million facility’s intelligent, interconnected geometric forms flow naturally through a central hub and a massive 40,000 sq ft hangar, the centerpiece of the campus. Graceful serpentine curves echo the meandering river and glazing reflects sky, water and mountains. The hangar accommodates 20 aircraft through six enormous sliding doors, manually operable by a single person. Custom laminated, double-pane glass helps control sound. Additional space was also created for revenue-generating and / or future expansion.
Classrooms, labs, workshops and hangar are inextricably linked, the gap between theory and practice eliminated and the potential for innovative / revolutionary changes in teaching techniques limitless. Students can dismantle an aircraft, study its components and build prototypes in one inspiring facility, absorbing knowledge and applying freshly acquired skills more quickly.
Considerations were also given to sustainability; footpaths / trails were added to preserve prime natural riverfront habitat. Erosion and soil stability are addressed through soil densification, pre-loading and piling. Geothermal energy provides the primary heat source, while grey TPO roof surface minimises the “heat island” effect while mitigating reflection for aircraft. Daylighting is provided by way of skylights and sidelights throughout, and convection air floors naturally cool the hangar.