University of British Columbia launches International Architectural Competition

The University of British Columbia announced today the launch of an International Architectural Competition for University Boulevard, the main entrance to its Vancouver campus.

“Universities are defined by their pursuit of excellence. UBC’s campus architecture should reflect the University’s position as an academic and research institution of global stature,” said Dennis Pavlich, UBC’s Vice President of External and Legal Affairs. “This competition is an important opportunity to build world class architecture that will define the entrance of UBC and create a new social heart for the campus.”

A competition jury that includes internationally renowned architects has been appointed and will be responsible for the evaluation of three finalists. The panel includes: Arthur Erickson, Canada; Moshe Safdie, Israel/USA; Leon Krier, France; Demetri Porphyrios, United Kingdom; and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, USA.

Integral to UBC’s long-term strategy is the creation of a complete and sustainable community on campus, University Town. University Town will be an academically and culturally rich collection of University neighbourhoods supporting the academic core as the primary intellectual, social and economic centre. University Boulevard is one of nine distinct neighbourhoods within UBC’s University Town. Located at the front door of the campus, University Boulevard will establish a new standard for design excellence at UBC.

The competition design site comprises of five building sites. The competition scope will include a new University Square, a new greenway, new University-related shops and services, University housing, and all the open spaces and associated pedestrian connections between the new and existing buildings. The total competition site area is approximately 7.2 hectares and the total gross building area over the five project sites is 38,550 square metres. The estimated budget for the project is $100 million.

The competition will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will shortlist participants to six and then three competitors. In the second stage, the three finalists will prepare design submissions. The winner will be announced in May 2005. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is November 30, 2004.

UBC students, faculty and staff will be invited to comment by way of a campus-wide questionnaire and campus poll, the results of which will be given to the jury for consideration on the three final submissions in March 2005. Roundtable lectures will be held in January 2005 to showcase the work of the six shortlisted architectural firms. Finalists’ proposals will be exhibited in March 2005.

Joining the architects on the jury will be University representatives: Chair; Dennis Pavlich, Vice President, External and Legal Affairs; Colleen Brown, Alma Mater Society; Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, Professor and Acting Head, Art History, Visual Art & Theory; Al Poettcker, President and CEO, UBC Properties Trust; Linda Moore, Associate Director, External Affairs, University Town; and Moura Quayle, Dean of Agricultural Sciences. The jury’s recommended winning proposal will be forwarded to the Board of Governors for consideration and approval.

The University of British Columbia is home to 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. A study commissioned by the European Commission in 2004 ranked UBC 35th on a list of the 500 best universities in the world. University Boulevard is the first architectural design competition in British Columbia since 1991, when the Vancouver Public Library held a national design competition, which was won by Moshe Safdie. Complete information and images on the UBC International Architectural Competition is posted on the web at