VANCOUVER – An expansion to the Trades Complex at Okanagan College in Kelowna, B.C. designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in association with David Nairne + Associates has won the Wood Design Award of British Columbia in the category of Large Institutional Wood Design.
The 9,750-square-metre (105,000sf) facility has both structural and architectural wood features that support the highly sustainable building’s design targets for Living Building Challenge petal certification, net-zero energy, and LEED Platinum. Structural engineer is Vancouver-based Fast + Epp.
“The design employs wood as a tactile element, as a means of warmly reflecting light into the collegiate spaces as well as expressed structure in the dramatic three-storey atrium,” said Michael Leckman, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
A large wood-frame canopy envelops visitors in wood as they enter the building and signals the role wood plays in a comprehensive green building design. The jury noted the “beauty and utility” of angled wood bracing in the timber-lined and exposed wood structure of the atrium that elegantly supports the sloped timber roof.
“The exuberance of the atrium’s v-shaped columns and restraint in the detailing was crucial to the project’s success,” added Leckman. “Together with the rigorous synthesis of structure and building systems, the design results in a space with quiet elegance, one that brings a sublime quality to the wood elements, and signals the importance of a campus building whose purpose is to inspire the next generation of trades professionals.”
The Trades Training Complex opened in the fall of 2016 and provides a new public face for the campus. The addition accommodates classrooms, group offices, labs, trade shops, administrative offices, a café, and student social and study space for the college. The existing Trades Workshop building was also renovated.
The Wood Design Awards of BC honours excellence in wood-based design and recognizes leadership and innovation in wood use. Previously, Diamond Schmitt won in the same category for the transformation of the Law School building at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is based in Toronto with studios in Vancouver and New York City. An extensive portfolio includes performing arts centres, post-secondary facilities, and residential, institutional and commercial buildings. Current projects include the Collection and Conservation Centre at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa; The Innovation Centre at Red River College in Winnipeg; and Robarts Common at the University of Toronto.