Detailed designs of a new major student residence planned for the University of British Columbia were released this week, showing a concept that creates a new purpose for under-utilized spaces around the towers of the Walter Gage Residence.
The so-called Pacific Residence will be located at the northwest corner of Walter Gate Road and Wesbrook Mall on Gage’s ground-level parking lots and green spaces.
Five buildings between seven and 10 storeys will accommodate about 1,000 units of student housing for upper year students, with common spaces and amenities — such as a cafe and fitness gym — located within the lower levels.
Overall, the project will create approximately 334,000-sq-ft of total floor area. There will also be 200 vehicle parking spaces within underground levels.
Vancouver-based design firms Hotson Architecture and Ryder Architecture have been selected by UBC Properties Trust as the architects of the project.
“The project is organized in a slender arrangement of buildings which wrap the perimeter of the site. Gaps are introduced between buildings to ensure physical and visual porosity throughout the site, and also relating to existing and desired pedestrian connections,” reads the architect’s design rationale.
“The proposed massing seeks to mediate the density on Wesbrook Mall as a transition from the lower scale residential contexts to the north and east, with the taller scale of the recent Exchange Residence to the south, and the existing Gage Residence towers to the west.”
The overall design intends to add a new architectural variety found within the Gage area, with its sense of depth to the facades, use of recessed windows, and alternating patterns and repetition with masonry brick.
There will also be some glass treatment to the exterior, where staircases are located.
Construction is set to begin in June 2019 for an opening in August 2021, just in time for the new school year.
Other major changes coming to the immediate vicinity include the opening of Exchange Residence at Gage South, just on the opposite corner of the intersection, which entails 650 beds for upper year students on top of a new bus exchange layover facility. This residence will open in August 2019.
A second phase to the Brock Commons residence, adding up to 600 beds, at the intersection of Walter Gate Road and East Mall is also planned.
UBC also has a number of new student residence complexes elsewhere on campus in various stages of planning.