Project in Detail
BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus
Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd
BCIT Full West View
British Columbia Institute of Technology - Aerospace Technology Campus
The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Aerospace Technology Campus stands at the gateway to British Columbia’s Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Driven by the concept of “Hub and Flow”, this cutting edge centre of learning acts in concert with its natural surroundings – the mighty Fraser River, the flight paths, the highways – and focuses their energies in a manner that caters to the needs of the people within. Ultimately, this 308,678 sq. ft., $65 million dollar facility emerged as a series of intelligent, interconnected geometric forms that flow naturally together through a central hub and a massive 40,000 sq. ft. hangar – the centerpiece of the campus. Much more than a technical training campus, this is a facility that will revolutionize the nature of knowledge sharing in the training of students graduating into the multibillion dollar aeronautics industry.
THEORY & DESIGN PRINCIPLES: 'Experience Flow Through Design'
The design for this project is the result of a creative process of co–operation and discovery. A team of architects, interior designers, project managers, a large BCIT stakeholder group and a full consultant team all provided input through workshops and other inclusive forums. The first phase, a ‘design drivers’ workshop, resulted in a comprehensive list of descriptive words and phrases presented in clear and simple language. In all, 22 drivers were identified. These drivers then anchored the remainder of the collaborative design process. The notion of “Hub and Flow” proved to be the preferred concept and ultimately formed the basis for schematic design.
PROGRAM & CLIENT: 'All Under One Roof'
BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus represents a paradigm shift in learning for the students and faculty. Students, teachers, and the airplanes are now all contained within a unified environment. Unlike the past, a student can dismantle an aircraft, study its components, and rebuild it again all within the same space. Classrooms, labs, workshops, and the hangar are inextricably linked. The gap between theory and practice has been eliminated. Thus the potential for innovative or revolutionary changes in teaching techniques becomes limitless. More importantly, the speed at which students can absorb knowledge and apply their freshly acquired skills will increase greatly.
CONTEXT & SITE: 'A Spectacular & Challenging Location'
The beautiful North Shore Mountains in the background, the Fraser River behind, and the Georgia Straight in the foreground presented the design team with a spectacular canvas for construction. However, the land selected for the project also presented some unique urban design challenges including an environmentally-sensitive riverfront, highway frontage, a restrictive flight path overhead, and a triangular shaped construction site.
'Nature Trails and Exterior Lines'
This building is defined and informed by many dichotomies: a loud side and a quiet side; the urban and the natural; the public and the private. Special attention was paid to ensuring these unique elements complemented each other in a manner that seemed natural and unforced. This resulted in the creation of footpaths and trails that allow visitors to experience both the natural elements of the surrounding environment and the graceful exterior lines of the building.
'Striking Angles. Serpentine Curves.'
Striking from all angles – including overhead – this building is in harmony with the river, flight paths, and roadways framing the facility. Serpentine curves echo the meandering river and reflect the sky, water, and mountains, as well as cars, people, and planes.
BUDGET & TIME CONSTRAINTS:
Through a construction management approach, the project team was able to deliver the project on time for the 2007 academic year and within a budget of $240 per sq. ft.
SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES: 'Eco-Friendly Design'
The rich and vibrant ecosystem along the shoreline behind the campus has been ‘red-lined’ by the Fraser River Estuary Management Program, which indicates the land is a prime natural habitat and requires care to preserve and, if possible, enhance the surrounding land. Embracing this designation, the design team set the building well back from the shoreline and created a series of footpaths and trails that allow visitors to enjoy the natural elements of the surrounding environment and experience the graceful exterior lines of the building. Additional sustainability measures included a geothermal heat pump strategy to serve as the primary source of heating for the campus, the creation of a grey TPO roof surface to minimize heat island effect while mitigating dangerous reflection that could interfere with approaching aircraft, the use of daylighting by way of skylights and sidelights throughout the facility and the creation of convection air floors to naturally cool the hangar.
SOLUTIONS, SUCCESS, AND FUTURE EXPANSION:
The project’s architects enlisted key stakeholders in a series of drivers and visual profile workshops. This unique process illuminated key environmental, geo-technical, and site-specific issues and facilitated the formulation of creative solutions. For example, the distinct wedge shape of the partnership building was designed to concede to the flight path of aircraft on approach to YVR. Moreover, the additional space created in the five-level partnership building affords BCIT with revenue-generating leasing options in addition to future expansion possibilities.
Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning Ltd