University of Victoria Student Housing and Dining Project

Location

Victoria, BC

Size

30,814 square metres

Completion

2023

Architect

Perkins&Will

Structural Engineer

Fast+Epp

Mass Timber Fabricator

Kalesnikoff Mass Timber Inc.

Project Materials

Cross-laminated timber (CLT)

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)

Structural Systems

Mass timber

Mid rise

Prefabricated

Taller wood

The University of Victoria’s sustainably designed Student Housing and Dining project incorporates a two-storey showpiece mass timber plinth and is set to become the city’s largest building of its kind in Canada to meet the rigorous energy standards of Passive House. 
  • Sustainable student housing buildings designed to be the “heart of residence life” and contribute to a more vibrant and socially-connected campus.
  • Locally-sourced mass timber and wood products play a part in the project’s design. Along with its eco-friendly, low carbon benefits, it will create a welcoming student commons and gathering hub.
  • Mass timber’s natural insulating qualities will be complemented by a rigorous Passive House design.

An ambitious design set to transform campus living

The University of Victoria’s sustainably designed student housing and dining project will offer more than housing and food services—the ambitious project is set to become the “heart of residence life” and contributes to a more vibrant and socially connected campus.

The complex includes two buildings. Building One is six storeys of concrete structure on its south wing and eight storeys on its north wing. The south wing includes a two-storey mass timber plinth that will house the dining facility and student residences.  Building Two is an 11 storey concrete structure and will be home to student housing on its upper floors. Classroom space, study and meeting space, conference facilities and an Indigenous student lounge will be included on the lower two levels. Combined the buildings will create housing for an additional 621 students currently living off-campus and help to address the acute regional need for housing.

There is a strong case to be made that putting student housing on top of a mix of other uses maximizes land use and student engagement on campus. It makes for a better public realm and a more diverse, exciting experience for the students and the broader UVic community, according to Alex Minard, Associate Principal at Perkins&Will, the architects for the project.

When complete the project will define a new socially connected commons for the University of Victoria campus. Incorporating active public spaces and large windows at ground level, the project features locally sourced wood exposed and visible to add natural warmth and a pleasing aesthetic.

 

“One of the great features of the mass timber podium-like design that wraps the building—along with its aesthetic warmth and lower carbon footprint—is that it provides weather protection and encourages interaction as you walk along what we call our Campus Greenway.”

MIKE WILSON, DIRECTOR CAMPUS PLANNING AND SUSTAINABILITY AT UVIC

Locally-sourced timber and Passive House to be a central design feature  

Wood is incorporated into the building designs through the use of a mass timber structure in Building One and as wood finishes in both buildings.  

Building One features a two-storey mass timber podium design. The two-storey structure’s post and beams are to be constructed with glue-laminated timber (glulam); tapered and bevelled glulam columns, exposed to the exterior, help support a cantilevered second floor that gives shelter to a public plaza. The plinth’s floor and roof slabs are built with cross-laminated timber (CLT), as well as some CLT wall segments wrapping around the concrete structure. Inside acoustic wood slat ceilings provide visual warmth and noise attenuation.  The glulam, CLT and ceiling slats will feature Douglas-fir giving them a uniform appearance.

Both buildings will feature interior wood finishes and doors of bigleaf maple, favoured for their hardy durability. The made-in-BC wood products—grown, harvested and processed all within the province—will lower COemissions during construction. At the same time, the project takes advantage of the long-term carbon-locking benefits of wood. 

The two new LEED Gold and Passive House-certified buildings will be among the greenest of their type in North America. The use of mass timber is well suited to Passive House design and helps reduce the amount of exterior installation required.  

“The university is genuinely committed to the Wood First Act and to honouring the original inhabitants of the land on which it sits. For these reasons, they asked us to use wood wherever possible to honour the spirit of the place. The trees that needed to be removed to allow construction were harvested in consultation with the university’s Indigenous communities for reuse in the project by local artists.”

ALEX MINARD, ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL AT PERKINS&WILL  

A comfortable and healthy indoor environment built to a 2050 climate standard 

The student housing and dining project are built to a 2050 climate standard, keeping occupants thermally comfortable well into the future. This was achieved using special climate modelling conducted by the university’s Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) 

In addition to aesthetic and sustainable benefits, the generous use of wood contributes to the facility’s comfortable and healthy indoor environment. Materials were reviewed against the design firm’s Precautionary List ensuring the elimination of harmful substances and the incorporation of healthy materials, such as toxin-free wood finishes and mass timber.  

Mass timber’s natural insulating qualities will be complemented by a mix of natural and mechanical ventilation using high-efficiency heat-recovery ventilators, as well as both manual and automatic operable windows.  

Mass timber used in MEC HQ, interior angle
Mass timber

Learn More
Interior view of BC Passive House Factory showing worker using crane to move mass timber beams
Mass timber in British Columbia

Learn More
UBC Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility
Mass timber: the next chapter in BC’s forest story

Learn More
Glue-laminated timber (Glulam), parallel strand lumber (PSL), and solid-sawn heavy timbers are featured in this exterior view of sweeping glass and wood Surrey Central City Shopping Centre
Hybrid-timber construction

Learn More
Brock Commons Tallwood House
Brock Commons Tallwood House

Learn More
Internal view of UBC Earth Sciences Building atrium demonstrating multi-storey timber construction techniques for higher-density urban environments
UBC Earth Sciences Building

Learn More
Exterior daytime view of five story TWU Jacobson Hall, showing modular prefabricated hybrid / wood construction in addition to structural Glue-laminated timber (Glulam), parallel strand lumber (PSL), and cross-laminated timber (CLT)
Trinity Western University Jacobson Hall

Learn More
Exterior building wide nighttime view of Vancouver Island University Cowichan Campus showing lit glass building front and including Glue-laminated timber (Glulam) beams and columns supporting expansive wooden roof
Vancouver Island University Cowichan Campus

Learn More