UBC’s International Architectural Competition attracts top names

The world’s leading architects have lined up in a bid to create a new gateway and social heart for UBC’s Vancouver campus. The deadline for expressions of interest closed on 30 November 2004.

“The range and calibre of the entrants makes this competition very exciting,” said Dennis Pavlich, UBC’s Vice President of External and Legal Affairs. “Several architects are known worldwide for their excellence in design. Their varied styles are rich, offering great potential for a winning submission that will create an outstanding signature and memorable architecture on UBC’s University Boulevard the prime entry into UBC’s academic core.”

Architects of international stature are among the contenders, many of whom have received prestigious awards and commendations for their design work. In total, 52 teams with firms from 16 countries submitted expressions of interest, including Canada, the USA, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Spain, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Japan and France. The list includes Coop Himmelblau, Herzog & de Meuron, Zaha Hadid, Barton Myers, Saucier + Perrotte among others. A complete list can be found at www.universitytown.ubc.ca/archcomp/longlist.php. British Columbia firms have been reaping the rewards of the Architectural Institute of British Columbia’s policy that requires all international and out-of-province competitors to establish a joint venture with architects licensed to practice in the province. Multiple international suitors are teaming up with BC firms, which is a highly creative pairing of global architectural skills and a significant boon to the local architectural economy of BC.

The competition’s shortlist committee will now evaluate the Expressions of Interest and prepare a shortlist of approximately six competitors. Beginning in January 2005, these firms will go through an interview process and each team will be asked to deliver a public lecture at UBC on their philosophy and approach to architecture as reflected in a cursory review of their work. Following this process, three finalists will be chosen and the competition will officially enter Stage 2 in which the three teams will prepare three visions for UBC’s University Boulevard. These designs will then be evaluated by a jury, which includes a roster of internationally recognized architects in association with university representatives.

Integral to UBC’s long-term vision is the creation of a complete and sustainable community on campus called University Town. The University Boulevard International Architectural Competition is the first architectural competition in Vancouver since 1991’s Vancouver Public Library national design competition, which was won by Moshe Safdie.

The University of British Columbia is a leading university in Canada, one of the world’s finest academic and research institutions, and is home to 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. UBC ranks consistently among the top 50 of the world’s best universities. For further information on the competition objectives, scope and schedule, please visit: www.universitytown.ubc.ca/archcomp