This is the design of the new UBC campus in downtown Kelowna (RENDERINGS)

Jan 14 2022, 3:57 am

The proposed detailed design of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) plan to build a satellite campus in downtown Kelowna incorporates a wide range of mixed uses, including significant academic and student housing spaces.

All of the varying uses will be stacked into a single 410-ft-tall, 35-storey tower at 550 Doyle Avenue at the former Daily Courier site — the northeast corner of the intersection of Doyle Avenue and St. Paul Street, just west of the civic facility cluster and near the lakefront.

If the tower existed today, it would be the tallest building in BC outside of the Lower Mainland.

UBC first announced its downtown Kelowna satellite campus plan in June 2020, as a partnership with local developer Mission Group, which will redevelop the remaining two-thirds parcel of the site to the north into residential and office towers.

For the UBC tower on the southern parcel, the university has engaged with Vancouver-based architectural firm HCMA for the design, which incorporates many of the same architectural style and features as the newer buildings found at the UBC Point Grey campus in Vancouver.

550 Doyle Avenue Kelowna UBC

Site of the UBC campus in downtown Kelowna. (Google Maps)

550 Doyle Avenue Kelowna UBC

Preliminary conceptual artistic rendering of the UBC campus in downtown Kelowna. (UBC)

The newly submitted development application to the City of Kelowna shows 77,800 sq ft of academic space within seven floors above ground level.

This includes six classrooms of varying sizes, with the largest holding up to 100 seated students, and dozens of other rooms for meetings, offices, and specialized laboratories.

These academic spaces are intended to be used by the School of Nursing, School of Health and Exercise Science, School of Social Work, Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship, and the UBC Vice President of Research.

Levels nine and 10 will remain temporarily vacant, reserved for future academic space expansion — pushing the eventual ultimate size of the academic campus to about 97,000 sq ft. In comparison, the existing UBC Robson Square campus in downtown Vancouver is similarly sized, with about 80,000 sq ft of space.

The entirety of the 11th level, just above the academic portion of the building, would be used as a private amenity space for the building’s student housing residents. Levels 12 to 35 would be completely used as student residences, with a total of 352 units, including 230 studios, 48 one-bedroom units, and 74 two-bedroom units.

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Diagram showing the various uses in the UBC campus tower at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

At ground level, the dedicated residential entry to the residential-only elevators would be located next to the laneway on Doyle Avenue, while the main entrance into the academic campus would be situated at the prominent intersection, where a corner public plaza is planned.

The ground level uses of the academic campus include a retail unit, a gallery and display space, a maker studio, and a significant four-storey atrium with lounge areas and a grand staircase.

To provide on-site training opportunities for students in health-related studies, a medical clinic occupying 10,710 sq ft of floor area spans portions of both the ground and second levels.

The building is significantly setback from the street, creating a major internal public courtyard — framed by the atrium, the maker studio, and a standalone 1,200 sq ft cafe pavilion, which partially encloses the plaza from St. Paul’s Street. The diagonal setback not only establishes the courtyard area, but also the triangular shape of the tower.

There would also be various other outdoor amenity spaces on the tower’s lower podium rooftops, which are terraced next to the courtyard.

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Diagram showing the outdoor public and private amenity spaces of the UBC campus at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus at 550 Doyle Avenue in downtown Kelowna. (HCMA/UBC)

UBC is proposing to achieve a high degree of sustainability with the design of this tower. A LEED Gold certification would be supported by major green building features such as a rainwater collection system for non-potable water reuse. The grey water would go through a treating system for purification to a safe standard for toilets and landscaping irrigation.

Shower drain water within the residential levels would be discharged into a central tank connected to a heat recovery system to allow the heat to be extracted and repurposed for space heating and heating hot water.

Due to challenging soil conditions and cost, most parking within new towers in the city centre are located above ground, within the lower levels of the podium. But UBC is proposing to place its parking underground instead to optimize the buildable high density of academic and student housing uses. Four underground levels will contain 260 vehicle parking stalls — including 139 stalls for academic uses, and 97 stalls for residents — and 476 secured bike parking spaces.

The proposed total floor area for the tower is 525,870 sq ft, creating a floor area ratio density of a floor area that is 10 times larger than the size of the 32,300 sq ft subdivided site.

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus in downtown Kelowna (right) and the adjacent Mission Group development (left). (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus in downtown Kelowna (left) and the adjacent Mission Group development (right). (HCMA/UBC)

ubc downtown kelowna 550 doyle avenue

Artistic rendering of the UBC campus in downtown Kelowna (right) and the adjacent Mission Group development (left). (Rafii Architects/Mission Group)

The UBC tower will be complemented by Mission Group’s adjacent 219-ft-tall, 16-storey tower with 122,500 sq ft of office space, located mid-block on the Daily Courier site, and a 324-ft-tall, 30-storey tower with 287 homes. The separate development application for Mission Group’s portion of the redevelopment was also submitted in early January 2022.

All three towers combined, including the UBC tower, will provide downtown Kelowna with a major catalyst for economic revitalization.

The university also has plans toĀ double the size of the University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBC-O) campus by 2040. Currently, the campus near Kelowna’s airport entails about one million sq ft of total floor area, and there are plans to add an additional one million sq ft by 2040, bringing the total size of the academic campus to approximately two million sq ft.

When UBC-O opened in 2005 using the former campus of Okanagan University College, it had just 3,500 students. It has since grown to over 11,000 students.

In November 2021, UBC announced it had acquired a three-acre site in Surrey near SkyTrain King George Station. The university is planning to build a significant mixed-use campus, with academic space potentially providing healthcare-related teaching space, given the location’s close proximity to Surrey Memorial Hospital, and market residential and commercial development to support the cost of the acquisition and construction.

UBC president and vice-chancellor Santa Ono states the university could potentially make more site acquisitions nearby its initial Surrey site. Over the long-term, the UBC Surrey campus could grow to serve 10,000 students or more.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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