February 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 55

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 | 7 PUBLIC Architecture and Communication N I C L EH O U X M A RT I N T E SS L ER M A RT I N T E SS L ER M A RT I N T E SS L ER flooded with the University's brand colours to stand out from its neighbours and to welcome visitors. A continuous student commons is connected vertically and horizontally through five floors with spiral staircases revealing campus-city- campus views. Wayfinding wraps the circulation up and through the public areas of the building, while large-scale murals reinforce Adler's vision and philosophy with illustrative timelines and inspirational quotes from social justice leaders. Miller's stamp can be felt on this project and on many of the firm's more complex projects, including Totem Commons Student Residence and Stuart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, both at UBC. The Quantum Matter Institute (QMI), a large-scale addition to the existing Brimacombe Building, accommodates both applied and theoretical research, provides scientists access to specialized facilities, and creates opportunities for synergies with the Faculty of Applied Science. The design supports QMI's collab- orative and interdisciplinary nature via flexible labs that act as re-configurable stages upon which new research activities can unfold. The junctures where the QMI and Brimacombe buildings meet are social hubs that encourage interac- tions, exchanges, and cross-pollination of ideas between researchers. Elements of the building design represent some of the research conducted inside, such as age brick cladding that is representative of molecular latticework. Yet another great example of the impressive work of PUBLIC is the UBC Totem Commons Block Lobby Renovation. UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services engaged PUBLIC to design a renovation to the public areas of this modernist student housing block. In keeping with UBC's commitment to reconciliation with First Nations and M├ętis peoples, information on the history and culture of the Musqueam Nation was included in the design. "The renovation could have just been a refresh, but instead it was a way to retell the story of place," says Mavor. "We do a lot of museum exhibit design, so it was exciting to take it out of the museum and into a space where people meet or walk through." While PUBLIC has indeed been involved in many fascinating educational projects, their portfolio is extremely diverse, as demonstrated by the Sechelt Water Resource Centre project. "When you specialize in dealing with organiza- tions you end up in areas you never thought you would," says Wakelin. "The wastewater treatment plant is one example. This design-build competition is a great story of sustainable architecture in which a traditional municipal wastewater treatment was turned on its ear by creating a public space in the residential heart of Sechelt." Instead of hiding behind a locked chain-link fence, the facility reveals mechanical and biological systems that clean waste water, encouraging the pub- lic to witness their role in the hydrological cycle. The success of this project has resulted in PUBLIC now designing a further two wastewater treatment plants. Today, the principals (including Robert Drew who joined the company in 2018) are as involved in the company as they were at the start. In fact, they are notorious for their hands-on approach, as Wakelin explains: "I always remem- ber one client sounding flabbergasted when I answered the phone," he laughs. "It's true. I empty the dishwasher too!" Their passion and expertise is undeniable, and undoubtedly a reason why they have attracted and retained loyal clients and continue to receive countless referrals. However, it's also their vision, thought leadership, and ability to translate a message that has put PUBLIC on the map. A Sechelt Water Resource Centre. UBC Totem Commons Block Lobby Renovation. Xthum Kwantlen Gathering Place, Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Adler University.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Award - February 2020