Build SFU presents SUB architectural designs


SUB from Freedom Square

Build SFU held a community update at the Think Tank last Wednesday, where architects Perkins+Will presented proposed exterior designs and floor plans for the future student union building (SUB).

The design selected will be built according to the “Terrace” concept — one of three concepts presented in March. The exterior of this model coincides with the original architectural features of the campus, as devised by Arthur Erickson.

The “terracing” effect — involving staggered patios and levels, inspired by Erickson’s original sketches of the campus — will make the SUB as unintrusive as possible. The design will preserve views of the surrounding environment from existing buildings, such as the AQ, as well as views of prominent locations, such as Convo Mall.

Perkins+Will also took into consideration the shadows that would be cast by the building, particularly into Freedom Square. Their studies concluded that the new structure would minimally affect sunlight reaching the area, especially during the summer months.

In order to create a distinct and identifiable building, the exterior structure will be comprised of, in addition to some concrete, glass, wood, metal, and greenery in the form of roof gardens. The idea is to make the SUB an easily recognizable and transparent “wood-glass box.”

Build SFU intends to make the SUB economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. The large outdoor terrace spaces are meant to encourage stewardship, and they plan to use durable, local, and recycled materials for the construction of the building. LED light fixtures, renewable energy, and control of solar heat gain are some of the other strategies they hope to implement to achieve LEED Gold status.

The interior of the building will also draw on the notion of transparency with the inclusion of multiple open spaces and large windows. These features will allow multiple levels and areas of the interior of the building to be viewed from a single spot, fostering a feeling of a cohesive community when inside.

The designs presented are still not set in stone. Marc Fontaine, general manager of Build SFU, told The Peak, “General blocks of space are set, but things can still move up till mid June.” Fontaine told The Peak they hope to meet with student groups from now until mid June, and that the Think Tank will be open for other students who have feedback. However, he emphasized that the sooner they receive the feedback from students, the more it will help.

Sections of the interior space have been allocated as office space for student organizations and groups, bookable meeting rooms, group study spaces, dance and music rehearsal rooms, multi-purpose event space, a cafe, a cabaret, a community kitchen, a games lounge, and general student lounges. They also plan to extend the existing SFSS food court in the MBC into the SUB.

Fontaine said that his favourite part of seeing the plans progress is “the fact that the building is really designed to work for students who aren’t very involved on campus or who aren’t involved at all.”

“It’s truly a student building,” he continued. “It’s not an administrative building, and it puts the general student spaces like lounges and general meeting rooms that anyone could book in very obvious and convenient places so that every student could come in this building throughout the years that it exists and know that they can find a place to relax.”


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