UBC Reports | Vol.
51 | No. 4 |
Apr. 7, 2005
Choice Imminent for University Town Design
Three Teams: Three Visions
By Brenda Austin
A space of any kind defines what happens within it, says
Associate Director of External Affairs for University Town
Linda Moore, a graduate architect and project manager for
the University Boulevard Architectural Competition.
Architects competing to design University Boulevard, one
of eight neighbourhoods which make up University Town, have
been given the daunting task of developing a central campus
neighbourhood that meets the lofty ideals of livability, sociability
The architects must include a campus entrance with aesthetic
appeal, buildings that speak of academic excellence, private
living spaces and public areas and amenities that give a sense
of a lively social milieu.
The juried competition to design such a space opened in
October 2004. Fifty-two of the world’s top architects
responded with an expression of interest by Nov. 30. UBC developed
a short list of seven in December, and narrowed the selection
Now comes the final choice.
Although the models and drawings provided to the university
are not identified, the names of the finalists are public
knowledge. In alphabetical order, they are:
- Allies and Morrison Architects of London, UK, partnered
with Proscenium Architecture and Interiors Inc. of Vancouver;
- Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners, Santa Monica,
California, with Hughes Condon Marler Architects; and
- Patkau Architects Inc. of Vancouver.
Their renderings show how each of the three finalists provide
solutions to the integration of ideals. The drawings, as well
as three-dimensional context models, are on view at the UBC
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery from April 1-10 for members
of the university community to register feedback on their
Moore sees the community input as a crucial step in the
process. All alumni and current UBC students, faculty and
staff members, professor emeriti and campus residents are
eligible to participate.
“Our poll is basic,” Moore says. “Which
team’s vision do you prefer? Which submission is best?
But, there is also an opportunity to provide comments that
will give us direction on how we proceed, on refinements to
plans and how we consult on livability.
“Please take the time not only to cast your vote but
offer qualitative comments,” she stresses.
The unique nature of this project rests on the fact this
is not a competition about one building. The boulevard stretches
from Wesbrook to Main Mall with boundary fingers north and
south. This is an entire precinct and only one building, the
General Services Administration Building, may be left standing
At the gallery, animated computer graphics move viewers
through the site to explore the relationship of spaces to
buildings and the ground plan for pedestrians in each design
vision. Panels illuminate particular aspects of each.
“We see University Boulevard becoming the epitome
of our academic excellence and international standing, a defining
architectural feature of our university in the twenty-first
century,”says Vice-President of External and Legal Affairs
For such an ambitious competition, Moore says, the jury must
include world-class architects. They are:
- Demetri Porthyrios, a London, UK architect and academic
- Moshe Safdie, a Canadian, with offices in Boston and Jerusalem,
who won the last large-scale competition in Vancouver to
design the Vancouver Public Library
- Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a principal in her own company
and dean of architecture at the University of Miami
- Leon Krier, from London, UK, who teaches at the Architectural
- Arthur Erickson, who designed the UBC Museum of Anthropology,
among many other buildings.
Jurists representing the university are:
- Moura Quayle, dean of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems
and associate vice-president of UBC Okanagan, and a landscape
- Dennis Pavlich, Vice-President of External and Legal Affairs,
chair of the jury
- Linda Moore, Associate Director of External Affairs for
University Town, graduate architect and University Boulevard
Competition project manager
- Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, an architectural historian, professor
and head of the UBC department of art history, visual arts
- Al Poettcker, president and chief executive officer of
UBC Properties Trust
- Colleen Brown, a graduate student of the School of Community
and Regional Planning, representing the Alma Mater Society.
The jury’s selection accomplishes the primary evaluation
but is influenced by the campus community poll and a review
by the University Boulevard Technical Committee, to estimate
whether the chosen design complies with requirements and comes
within the designated budget.
If you have not done so already, you can register your choice
of design at the Belkin Gallery until April 10, Monday to
Friday 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday noon
until 5 p.m., or online at www.universitytown.ubc.ca.