Three options unveiled for Destination Project Science and Academic Building

The University of Lethbridge Destination Project took a major step forward with the unveiling of three building massing options for the new Science and Academic Building.

Representatives of KPMB/Stantec Architects showcased the designs in the University Theatre as part of a one-hour presentation that elicited feedback from the University community. Further comments on the options presented will continue to be collected at through Oct. 8, 2014.

“The planning conducted today, directed by the concerns raised by our community, will serve the University for the next 50 years,” says Dr. Andy Hakin, Provost & Vice-President (Academic). “The options presented this week are an important step on the path for our future, providing incredible opportunities for generations to come.”

After receiving a significant investment from the Government of Alberta earlier this year, KPMB/Stantec Architects was selected to lead the design process.

In developing the three options, an Integrated Design Planning Committee comprised of carefully selected faculty, staff, engineers, designers and architects met on a monthly basis to strategize, collaborate, tour and learn from each other. The group ultimately produced five primary objectives for the Science and Academic Building – Connection to Campus & Community, Enable Transdisciplinary Learning & Research, Provide a Supportive Environment, Incorporate Sustainable Design, Create Signature Architecture – and the three possible massing options.

They are as follows:

The Street

The Street: A curving street defined by two bar buildings follows the natural topography of the site, reaching toward the north campus on the west and opening up to a dramatic view of the coulee landscape to the east.

Flooded with natural light, the street connects people, offering impromptu meeting and learning space along its length and putting science on full display. On the south façade, a glazed winter garden rises the full height of the building, presenting a beacon of light to the campus.

The Court: A central courtyard frames a dramatic view of the coulee landscape and Oldman River. Filled with daylight, the courtyard creates a dynamic space for interaction and collaboration around which scientific activity occurs.

The Court

The openness and transparency of the court encourages a variety of views and connections between blocks of laboratory space. This interior landscape steps down through the topography of the site, creating a clear connection to University Hall.

The Hub: A vibrant hub is formed at the centre of the building where paths between lab blocks and the general campus intersect, encouraging interaction and spontaneous collaboration between faculty, students and the community.

A curved atrium on the east extends the coulee landscape into the building and provides a spectacular outlook to the river. Framed views of the High Level Bridge, the grove of trees, and the Coulee Quad further connect the building to the landscape, community and campus.

The Hub

Further opportunities to view the massing options are available over the next week, with display boards set up at the following locations:

Wednesday, September 24 | 1 to 3 p.m. | University Hall Atrium
Tuesday, September 30 | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Lobby | 1st Choice Savings Centre for Sport and Wellness
Thursday, October 2 | 7 p.m. | Dr. Foster James Penny Building

“The Destination Project is the means through which the collective aspirations of not only the University but broader southern Alberta can be realized,” says Hakin. “This will be a hub of community engagement and outreach, and therefore it is very important for us to receive input from the broader community to help us define what is truly a transformational project.”

Following a thorough review of community feedback on the presented options, the planning committee will make a recommendation to the U of L’s Board of Governors later this fall, after which the Board will approve one of the three options in early December.

Planning for the Destination Project will continue for the next 15 months and will involve more public information sessions to keep the community informed of the progress to date. Construction is scheduled to start in spring of 2016.