Five-storey Student Union Building taking shape at UBC

As Originally Seen in the Journal of Commerce www.joconl.com :

The construction site of the new Student Union Building (SUB) on the Point Grey campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC) is a busy place these days.

“We have completed all structural elements and most of the building envelope,” said Bird Construction project co-ordinator Craig Shirra.



“We’re finishing off the final sections of glazing and the zinc cladding. And, the mechanical and electrical trades are completing their rough-in throughout the office and administration floors, just ahead of the drywall crews.”

The new building is a replacement for, and directly adjacent to, the existing SUB, which was built in 1968.

The two buildings will be connected at the lower level.

The upper levels of the old SUB will be re-purposed for other uses.

The $78 million building reaches five storeys above grade and one below. Total floor area is 256,855 square feet.

Shirra said the new SUB will look very impressive when it is finished. 

It includes a five-story atrium with glazing that looks towards the renovated University Boulevard commons.

“The glazing has 40 per cent and 60 per cent frit patterns that gives it more character,” he said.

At the south point of the building, a large double-story space, the Great Hall, will be used for banquets and conferences.

“The Great Hall is formed by three large steel truss structures, two large sections on the east and west and one smaller truss at the southern elevation,” Shirra said.

“The trusses weigh 80 and 30 tons and are so large they had to be assembled and erected on site.”



An unusual feature of the new SUB is the Nest lounge; a two-story structure that floats in the middle of the west atrium.

It contains a theatre and multi-use room on the second floor and a student lounge on the third floor.

Much of the exterior cladding is a reed pattern TAKTL panel, which is a high-performance concrete panel.

The structure of the west saw-tooth roof is built from cross laminated timber panels and 85-foot long Glulam truss.

“Glulams have been used as columns many times before, but I’ve never seen an open-web truss made of Glulam sections,” Shirra said.

“The open webs of the truss have glazing and skylights mounted to them and are oriented to face north, so they light up the entire west atrium.”

The project is targeting LEED Platinum certification.

“The radiant heat is only at the edges of the building, to help with heat loss at the glazing openings,” Shirra explained.

“The wall thermal assembly on the east elevation is exterior of the structural Glulam columns, which bow out at the midpoint.”

In addition, there will be a roof-top garden, where the Alma Mater Society (AMS) will grow fresh vegetables and herbs for the nine restaurants in the SUB. 

Five-storey Student Union Building Taking Shape At Ubc : News & Media : Bird Construction