December 2020

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D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 | 57 Skeena Residence – UBC Okanagan P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N D R E W L AT R EI L L E /CO U RT E SY P U B L I C: A RC H I T EC T U R E + CO M M U N I C AT I O N SKEENA RESIDENCE – UBC OKANAGAN by LAURIE JONES T he University of British Columbia (UBC) – one of the leaders in environmental and sustainable building projects – has recently completed the first Passive House student dormitory in Canada. Located on the UBC Okanagan cam- pus in Kelowna, B.C., the 220-bed, six-storey Skeena Residence was done on time and on budget, all the while dealing with the COVID pandemic. "We are literally on the cutting edge with this Passive House project," says Craig Shirra, senior develop- ment manager, UBC Properties Trust. "The crux of this type of build- ing is its energy efficiency, through a more efficient building envelope that has thicker walls – approximately nine inches where a traditional wall would be four to five inches. Skeena Residence has triple glazed windows, which helps to meet the strict Passive House criteria." He explains that while the con- struction budget for a Passive House comes at a premium, costs are saved over the long run. "We are work- ing with the Certifying Authority of the Passive House Institute to make sure that we are going to meet their criteria. There was no precedent for a structure like this, and the clos- est example to draw experience on for us was a large church. A typical Passive House project is oriented with the majority of windows facing south. That couldn't be done here because of the site layout and dorm rooms." Shirra says they met their September occupancy deadline in what he notes as a sprint the whole time of construction. "The project was a collaborative con- struction management procurement model and everyone worked together to achieve the end goal." Jamie Harte, project archi- tect at PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication explains there are five floors of student residences and common areas on the ground floor. "The design has the same floor plan from levels two to six, and two stu- dents share a bathroom. Because of COVID, the building is running at reduced occupancy." He adds, "This type of project lends itself to efficient Passive building because the floorplan is simple, without balconies or many exterior doors. The interior has a lot of fun, bright colours that help people identify where they are with alternat- ing orange and pink colours. The floor colour blends from pink, to grey, to orange along the hallways." With approximately 44 students per level (in full capacity), each of the five levels has a small lounge and a kitchenette with a range. Students get their primary meals at the cafeteria. Harte says architecturally, the thing they are most proud of is being able introduce some interesting materi- als and feeling of depth on the facade of the simply designed building. "The brighter colours of fibre cement panels project forward from the darker met- als around the windows," he explains. "We're using the detailing of the clad- ding to articulate the building rather than having big corners here and there, which creates inefficiency." Allmar supplied the doors, frames, hardware, and miscellaneous building specialties and supplied and installed automatic door operators, as well. LOCATION 1320 International Mews, Kelowna, B.C. OWNER /DEVELOPER UBC Properties Trust ARCHITECT PUBLIC: Architecture + Communication CONSTRUCTION MANAGER Sawchuk Developments Co. Ltd. STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT Bush, Bohlman & Partners LLP MECHANICAL CONSULTANT AME Consulting Group ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Jarvis Engineering Consultants L ANDSCAPE ARCHITECT/ CIVIL CONSULTANT WSP TOTAL SIZE 72,000 square feet TOTAL COST $25 million 8:22 AM 8:53 AM 7:50 AM

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