Project Description

The New Student Union Building (SUB) is located at the “Core of Campus” at the University of British Columbia (UBC), one of Canada’s elite universities. The New SUB is a vibrant destination point and an interactive “Nest” for students from around the world to build a community.  To achieve the architectural expression and synergize form with function, steel was the natural choice as one of the primary construction materials.  The New SUB is a five-storey precision structure including a massive mechanical penthouse which showcases spectacular views of the campus and soaring steel trusses.  During the creation of this community-based building, the New SUB aimed for LEED’s platinum standard, energy smart qualities, and sustainability.

The world-class design commenced with an Integrated Design Process, which was a collaboration of students, stakeholders, architects and structural engineers.  A hybrid of sustainable building materials was carefully selected to respect the legacy of the old SUB and to celebrate the conscience of future generations in the New SUB “Nest”.  To capture the collective visions of teams, only steel possessed the balance of strength, precision and flexibility to reach beyond boundaries and reinforce the UBC brand as “A Place of Mind”.

To ensure that the technology-forward 250,000+-square-foot building remained the focal point and pulse of the campus community, several unique architectural elements were incorporated.  The steel highlights of the multi-purpose student agora environment include the Great Hall, the actual Nest, and three stories of “floating” stairs with two stairwells.  At completion, the new 45,000-strong student population home required a total investment of $103 million and will open its doors in early 2015.


Project Team

Owner: AMS / UBC Property Trust

Architect: DIALOG / B+H Architects

Structural Engineer: Read Jones Christoffersen

Project Manager / General Contractor: Bird Construction Company

Fabricator: Wesbridge Steelworks

Detailer: Wesbridge Steelworks

Erector: Wesbridge Steelworks