New UBC student housing complex built over TransLink bus facility completed

Aug 1 2019, 10:50 pm

Just in time for the start of the school year, the University of British Columbia has provided its on-campus student housing options with a significant boost in capacity.

See also:

The Exchange Residence at 5960 Student Union Boulevard — the southwest corner of Student Union Boulevard and Wesbrook Mall, just next to UBC Aquatic Centre and Gage Towers — began taking in its first residents last month.

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

It entails four interconnected towers, reaching up to 14 storeys in height, on top of a new site-wide bus layover facility for TransLink. All of this occupies the footprint of the former diesel bus loop.

There are 650 student beds within 71 micro units, 88 studios, five large accessible studios, 77 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedroom units, and 15 two-bedroom townhouse units, facing Wesbrook Mall and Student Union Boulevard. The micro units are a first for UBC, entailing just 140-sq-ft of living space, complete with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping and study areas.

This new residence is predominantly dedicated to upper-year and graduate students.

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Below the bulk of the residence levels, the bus layover facility — serving the new UBC bus loop — has 15 bus parking spaces and facilities for drivers, including a break room and washrooms.

The thick concrete and steel roof over the bus layover facility acts as not only a platform for the residential towers but also as an acoustical barrier and a large private outdoor amenity space for the complex’s student residents.

UBC Exchange student residence outdoor amenity space on the rooftop of the TransLink bus layover facility

UBC Exchange student residence outdoor amenity space on the rooftop of the TransLink bus layover facility. (UBC)

A purpose-built bus layover facility for UBC has been planned for about two decades; an early idea called for a new underground bus exchange and layover facility, but this was cancelled in 2009 after engineering and cost issues favoured a new ground-level bus exchange and underground layover facility combination.

However, this alternative concept was later also cancelled in 2014, after it was determined that a larger footprint beneath the old McInnes Field was required, with higher construction costs. Instead, the underground space over the new McInnes Field is now being used as a single-level, short-term parking lot with over 200 vehicle stalls.

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The new replacement bus exchange is now largely complete, apart from the landscaping for the centre median that is slated to be finished by September.

This large bus exchange provides ample passenger circulation and bus bay capacity, with separate arrivals and departures areas that are protected with a steel, wood, and glass canopy system with lighting. The road surfaces of the bus exchange are also illuminated with a system of festoon lighting suspended with overhead cables.

The construction cost of the new bus exchange is $21.75 million, with about $8.8 million coming from TransLink, and the new student residence over the bus layover facility cost $77 million.

UBC bus exchange

Newly completed UBC bus layover facility and Exchange Residence, July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

UBC bus exchange

New UBC bus exchange nearing completion on July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

The entire development — the bus exchange, bus layover facility, and the Exchange Residence — was designed by local architectural firm DIALOG.

Just north of the Exchange Residence and the bus layover facility, UBC plans to construct a new 1,000-bed student residence — dubbed Pacific Residence — on under-utilized spaces of the Gage Towers residence site. Construction begins this year for an opening in August 2021.

UBC currently has about 12,000 student beds, and with further developments, it plans to increase its student housing capacity to 17,300 beds by 2030, including 3,000 beds within the short-term period of within the next five years.

UBC bus exchange

New UBC bus exchange nearing completion on July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

UBC bus exchange

New UBC bus exchange nearing completion on July 19, 2019. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT