Buchanan re-born

Over the past 50 years, thousands of students, faculty and staff have made the Buchanan complex the hub of everything “Arts.” And while each classroom, lecture hall and courtyard bench tells a story, it was high time for a makeover of the complex.

This fall, that makeover will be complete with the final landscaping of the Buchanan courtyards. The design concept will transform the courtyards into welcoming plazas filled with natural light and ample seating while retaining the buildings’ Modernist roots.
Originally built between 1958 and 1960, the Buchanan complex has been a strong but subtle landmark at the north end of the campus. With more than 12,000 students comprising the Faculty of Arts, space has become a premium for the largest faculty at UBC. Students were badly in need of updated spaces to study and to connect with their peers and professors.

Renovations to the Buchanan complex have been underway for several years through UBC’s sustainability building renovation program, UBC Renew. The buildings have been completely revitalized, their original structures kept intact but the interiors reconfigured, refurbished, and serviced with new energy-efficient building systems. UBC Renew diverts large amounts of material from the landfill by renovating older campus buildings instead of demolishing them and building new, and renovations meet Canada Green Building Council LEED silver standard or better.

A leader in green university development and infrastructure, UBC has also taken a holistic approach to sustainability in ways that support the community as a whole. Working with Trade Works Custom Products, a social enterprise that trains and employs women in the Downtown East Side, the wooden arms were removed from more than 420 recycled seats, carefully stripped of the old paint, hand-sanded, refinished and reinstalled on the seats. They are now proudly in place in a lecture theatre in Buchanan A, a fresh new look for old seats that might have otherwise been disposed of.

And the original seats that were removed from Buchanan A? They made it onto the walls as an acoustic treatment, a nod to the past that’s both visually interesting and functional, and a way to further reduce renovation waste.

For more information on Trade Works Custom Products and the Women’s Workshop, check out the Trade Works website at www.tradeworks.bc.ca.

For information about other Learning Space projects, visit the Classroom Services website at www.students.ubc.ca/classroomservices.