Kasian designs new elite BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus

Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd (Kasian) designed the new BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus (ATC) in Richmond, BC, which will open its doors in September 2007. As Western Canadas premier aerospace centre, the 305,000-square-foot facility was designed using a collaborative approach to enhance the learning environment for students and faculty in the multi-billion-dollar aerospace industry.

We are exceptionally pleased with the design of our new Aerospace Technology Campus and believe Kasian met all our requirements and surpassed our expectations, said John Wong, BCITs director of campus planning. The new space will allow BCIT to expand its aerospace student body and will be a powerful and distinctive statement of our growing leadership in aerospace training.

The $65-million campus is adjacent to Vancouver International Airport and posed unique urban design challenges including an environmentally sensitive riverfront, highway frontage, a restrictive overhead flight path of the south runway and a triangular-shaped construction site.

To overcome the specific project challenges, Kasians mandate was to facilitate the collaborative design process with BCITs stakeholder group, project managers and the consultants, which led us to formulate successful and creative solutions, said Wojciech Brus, Kasians principal-in-charge for the BCIT ATC. The result is a building that incorporates function and style and is in harmony with the adjacent river, flights paths and roadways.

To address the noise from aircraft overhead and from the roadway, Kasian ensured the facility had exceptional acoustic performance and used acoustic tiles in the roof and specialized glass to mitigate the impact of sound within the interior spaces.

Our approach was to design a school that delivers the best learning experience possible and truly engages students in all aspects of aircraft maintenance and repair, said Michael McDonald, principal at Kasian and concept design architect for the BCIT ATC. The result of the collaborative, multi-stakeholder design process is a world-class education facility. We believe the design will help catapult the aerospace training industry into the future.

Additionally, the building features a series of distinctive, interconnected geometric forms that create a natural flow of students and faculty through the many classrooms, workshops, common areas, and the impressive 40,000-square-foot hangar. The glass hangar accommodates up to 20 training aircrafts including a new Boeing 737. The massive doors of the hangar are designed such that they can be manually opened and closed by a single person.

Designed in zones, the campus has a loud zone of hangars and workshops, a quiet zone along the river for study and social interaction, and an entry zone that welcomes visitors. Located at the centre point of the campus, the Hub connects the quiet and loud learning sections. To ensure the ultimate learning experience, students now have everything under one roof and can dismantle an aircraft, study its components and rebuild it again all in the same space.

The land on which the campus is built is red-lined, which means it is a prime natural habitat that requires special care and preservation; therefore Kasian set the building well back from the delicate rivers shoreline to create footpaths and trails for students, faculty and visitors.

Environmental consideration was also given to a geothermal heat pump strategy which acts as the primary heating and chilled water system for the campus. The system utilizes the hangar slab as a radiant heat source with air to air heat recovery providing warmth to adjacent shops and classrooms.

Aided by its exceptional design and location, the new BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus is a new gateway to the future of aerospace technologies and will open its doors to BCIT students and faculty for the 2007/2008 school year.