UBC Alumni Centre

Vancouver B.C. ● Academic

Located centrally in the heart of the University of British Columbia’s campus, the UBC Alumni Centre is a four storey, 40,000 SF building comprised of concrete, steel and glass. The building is targeting LEED Gold certification.  The second and third floors of the building collect solar energy to help heat the building and the interior also features extensive use of local Douglas Fir wood.

The new centre aspires to be the key resource for UBC Alumni (of which there are an estimated 300,000) as they do business, expand their careers, and engage with other alumni. The UBC Alumni Centre will house the UBC Board of Governors Meeting Hall, and also includes plans for a centre of innovation, a 300 person celebration space, reception and banquet facilities, social and networking spaces, a cafe, offices, high-tech meeting areas, and a library on the main floor.

The centrepiece of the project is the atrium. The beautiful free-spanning staircases connect each level and are clad in timber. Our challenge as structural engineering consultants was to come up with a design that kept the stairs slim, light, and without any intermediate support over the ambitious 15m span. After thorough discussion with the Architect, we arrived at a solution to have steel trusses hidden in the guardrails, with the stairs themselves spanning between the bottom chords of the trusses. This was modelled in E-TABS to check frequency to control vibration, and also in STAAD to work out the forces to design for.

Images: © Bob Matheson