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UBC Life Sciences complex to expand with more labs and learning spaces


September 23, 2014
by Canadian Architect

Diamond Schmitt Architects in association with CEI Architecture will reconfigure and expand the University of British Columbia’s Life Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Labs.

The $51.8-million project will renew the Biological Sciences complex located at the heart of the Vancouver campus. Both new and renovated buildings will provide connectivity and opportunity for interdisciplinary learning around an expanded courtyard.

The project includes the renewal and addition of new greenhouse facilities to the fourth floor of the Biological Sciences North Wing (1976), and a four-storey link between it and Biological Sciences West. The Biological Sciences Centre Block (1948) and a two-storey workshop (1976) will be replaced by a four-storey building on the east side of the courtyard. The courtyard will undergo a comprehensive expansion and renewal as part of the project.

These additions will provide flexible, modern teaching labs, associated classrooms, group and informal learning spaces and instructor/support offices for the Biology and Biological Sciences programs and also incorporate Microbiology, Biochemistry and Cellular and Physiological Sciences teaching programs. Existing mechanical and electrical facilities will be upgraded along with seismic, life safety and Building Code enhancements. The new facilities are being designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

“This is an exciting opportunity to enhance UBC’s science teaching facilities with flexible and modern spaces for hands-on learning,” said John Scott, Principal, CEI Architecture.

The total area for the new spaces, including rooftop research and teaching greenhouse space, is approximately 175,000 gross square feet. The project builds on the successful renewal of the Biological Sciences West and South Wings completed in 2011.

“CEI and Diamond Schmitt look forward to renewing UBC’s Life Sciences teaching labs with state-of-the-art

facilities and learning environments that align with advances in pedagogy,” said Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The two design firms have previously collaborated on the UBC Faculty of Law at Allard Hall (2011), Burnaby’s Tommy Douglas Library (2009) and the North Vancouver Civic Library (2008). All three projects have won multiple industry awards. The North Vancouver Civic Library earned a Lieutenant-Governor of BC Award of Merit in 2009.


UBC life sciences centre (2004) by diamond schmitt architects in joint venture with bunting coady architects
UBC life sciences centre (2004) by diamond schmitt architects in joint venture with bunting coady architects


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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