The UBC Buchanan Courtyards Renew project reinvents and revitalizes two public courtyards at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Surrounded by the Buchanan Complex, home to the Faculty of Arts, the courtyards were first developed in the 1960s to complement and extend the adjacent Modernist architecture. Over the years, the courtyards saw the erosion of their appearance and use, unable to accommodate the needs, identities and programming of its users. The renewed courtyards are a calculated, thoughtful response to create dynamic outdoor spaces for students to converse, study, relax, and perform.
The western courtyard – "the Agora" – is a civic space designed for larger scale gatherings, celebrations, and the exchange of ideas. A new concrete pavilion anchors the space and serves as a stage during programmed events such as festivals and public performances. The pavilion’s 50-foot span is achieved using a 7-inch thick concrete slab, folded to fulfill aesthetic, structural and mechanical requirements. Its perimeter edges are orthogonal and directly relate to the frame-and-infill vocabulary of the existing buildings.
The pavilion’s complex mid-span geometry was made possible with digital design techniques and a construction strategy using CNC machinery to fabricate the pavilion formwork to attain a near-seamless, form-tie-free finish. The Agora also features glowing freeform benches and a ribbon of seating on its east edge that incorporates two types of seating – the ‘slouch’ and the ‘perch’ – that offer opportunities for engaging and transformative activities.
In contrast to the Agora, the eastern courtyard — "the Green” — is a quiet space for contemplation or small informal gatherings. This courtyard features a naturalistic ephemeral stream or ‘rain garden’ and a long curved bench, offset by a grassed berm and significant drought-tolerant and native plantings. The rain garden forms part of a comprehensive site water harvesting/ recycling system that captures, remediates and stores stormwater runoff for on-site irrigation and water feature recharge, contributing to the campus’s sustainability goals.
The overall composition of the courtyards is strengthened by a reinstated reflecting pool in which the pavilion sits. Each of the Arts Faculty’s 25 departments and schools supplied a significant idea relating to their field of study to develop a visual expression of what “The Arts” means at UBC. The quotations — over 8000 characters in 11 languages — were typeset in radiating rings set in the bottom of the pool. This aspect of the project was so well-received, it became the foundation for a new visual identity for the Faculty of Arts.
Material Used :
1. Pace/DW Windsor — Courtyard Pole Luminaire - 15 Foot Pole — Milano
2. Hydrel — 36" High Round Louvred Bollard — 3110-36-60CMPE-120-SYM-DNA
3. Venus — Linear LED — VarioLED FLEX VENUS IP67 W8-41/1250SP
4. Color Kinetics — In Pool LED Pre-Programmed Control — C-Splash 2
5. Barbican — LED Step Light 7" diameter recessed in Concrete Wall — Barb-SL-7-LED-120-plyc-TO-RB-5W with integral LED driver and stainless steel finish
6. Manfrotto — Tree Stands
7. Iluminarc — Luminaires — Ilumipod