Library Classroom Building, Langara College

Architect Teeple Architects Inc. With Hancock Bruckner Eng + Wright Architects

Location Vancouver, British Columbia

This project consists of the development of a 25-year master plan for Langara College in Vancouver, and the design of a new 80,000-square-foot library and classroom building. First and foremost, the project transforms the existing campus from a sea of on-grade parking spaces into an educational precinct – a sequence of outdoor student social spaces. Parking will be relocated below grade over time, allowing a new public realm to emerge on the campus.

Each of the new spaces is conceived to have a specific role and function in the overall campus structure. A new forecourt with an immense reflecting pool will create a significant entry court facing onto 49th Street. A new inner student quad will be framed by the library, and forms a new focal point of student activity on the campus. The new West Court will engage with Langara Park, creating a western front to the College.

In addressing programmatic and sustainable design concerns to accommodate 50-year campus growth, the library is designed to expand within the building shell over time to permit the integration of study spaces and classrooms. The library has been conceived as an information commons, where all of the functions of the library are located on the ground floor, easily accessible to staff. Study spaces become quieter and more introverted the further one moves up and into the facility. Wireless systems and the latest technological infrastructure are utilized in the library and the rest of the building.

In striving for LEED Gold certification, the structure is conceived as a heat sink, fundamental to the functioning of its ground-source heating and cooling system. Exposed cast-in-place concrete combines with the most advanced glazing systems available to further the energy performance of the building. High-performance glass, frit glazing, warm edge space technology, and a framing system with extended thermal breaks are all employed. The performance of all of these systems has been carefully modelled, including the temperature differential within the glass and window mullions. The result is a composition of pure solids and voids intended to clearly communicate the concept of the building as an urban form, inflected by the environment acting upon it.

Wind and water warp the roof, capturing the wind and lifting it into wind towers that are displaced vertically from the volume of the building. These wind towers pull air through the building, replacing conventional air conditioning systems. Gardens push inward, creating sources of light and fresh air. Moving through the building involves moving through the openings and under the wind towers, resulting in a first-hand experience of the things that make the building work. The undulating form of the roof is the culminating expression of the space.

Ouellette: Teeple Architects have a long tradition of exceptional design. Their Langara College project illustrates that this firm’s innovative practices are more than surface deep, however. Designed as part of the college’s 25-year master plan, the library achieves LEED Gold certification through the use of some complex, multi-purpose formal elements. For example, the scheme’s wind towers draw air through a ground-source heating and cooling system. Conventional air conditioning is no longer required and, as a result, energy consumption drops.

Provencher: It is extremely refreshing to see how client and architect are able to share the same vision and passion for an ecological approach to this project. This demonstrates the possibility of creating a strong architecture inspired and shaped by notions of sustainability. The building incorporates excellent green design principles and a dynamic urban design approach, resulting in a sensible solution wrapped in an inspired and dynamic architecture.

Taylor: The major strength of this project is the distortion of the envelope through a rigourous sustainable design analysis to produce a building where formal manipulation is determined by function. The most developed components of the design are the roof and the wind towers. Of all the projects we reviewed that purported to incorporate sustainable design, this one took it the furthest, providing multiple opportunities for users to experience these measures in unique ways.

Client Langara College

Architect Team Stephen Teeple, Cheryl Atkinson, Mark Baechler, Myles Craig, Luc Bouliane, Jacqueline Wiles, Jim Hancock, Martin Bruckner, Hilde Heyvaerts, Juan Pereira, Oswal Fuentes, Bill Quan, Lisa Hu, Jeff Christianson

Structural Glotman-Simpson

Mechanical Vel Engineering

Electrical Keen Engineering

Landscape Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg

Interiors Teeple Architects Inc.

Area 80,000 Ft2

Budget $20 M

Completion September 2006