The University of British Columbia’s recently completed Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, one of several GlotmanSimpson UBC projects, is one we’re proud to have had a hand in innovating.

This new centre serves as a 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 Alumni Centre houses the UBC Board of Governors Meeting Hall, a centre of innovation, a 300-person celebration space, reception and banquet facilities, social connection and networking spaces, a cafe, offices, high-tech meeting areas, and a library on the main floor.

Located centrally in the heart of UBC’s campus, the centre is a 40,000 SF/four storey building comprised of concrete, steel and glass; designed to look like a floating glass cloud. The Alumni Centre is a great looking, architecturally dynamic building with cutting-edge elements including an interactive display chronicling UBC’s history and the achievements of its alumni. It is targeting LEED Gold certification with the extensive use of local Douglas fir and the use of solar energy to help heat the building.

GlotmanSimpson’s Project Engineer, Neil Wilson, P Eng, found the work on the Alumni Centre both challenging and ultimately rewarding:

“The centrepiece of the project is the atrium which draws everyone’s attention as soon as they enter. 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 about what they wanted to achieve, we came up with a solution to have steel trusses hidden in the guardrails, with the stairs themselves spanning between the bottom chords of the trusses. We modelled this in E-TABS to check frequency to control vibration, and also in STAAD to work out the forces to design for.”

GlotmanSimpson Consulting Engineers

Location: 6163 University Blvd. Vancouver, BC
Owner / Developer: UBC Properties Trust
Architects: KPMB Architects / HCM Architects
Construction Manager: Syncra Construction Corp.
Structural Engineering Consultant: GlotmanSimpson Consulting Engineers

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