The radical transformation of a 1960s-era building on the campus of Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Kamloops, British Columbia has created a home for the first new Law School in Canada in 30 years and TRU’s MBA program. A transformative 45,000-square-foot addition to the building known as the Old Main adds academic teaching and office space atop the existing structure. The natural surroundings and First Nations heritage that inform TRU’s identity inspired the design of the addition on a campus that overlooks the North and South Thompson Rivers and a range of softly rolling mountains.
The new undulating roofline echoes the landscape while integrating two new floors with the mechanical penthouse of the original building. The two lower, existing floors have been re-clad in curving bands that suggest First Nations craft traditions. The bands bow outwards to form two cedar-clad canopies that reinforce the wave pattern of the roofline. This knitting of the old and new dramatically transforms the previously non-descript building into an iconic structure and symbol of the campus.
At the centre of the addition is a double-height atrium connecting two wings lined with teaching spaces on the south and the law library and offices on the north. Full-height glazing connects the atrium and adjacent reading room that share a dramatic view of the sweeping ceiling, complemented by a sculptural spiral stair.