Nicola Valley Institute of Technology

One of Canada’s first post-secondary facilities shared by a native and non native institute, designed to reflect the cultural characteristics of the aboriginal students, and provide state of the art learning spaces required by University College of the Cariboo. The program includes classrooms, faculty offices, social spaces, labs, bookstore, cafeteria, and library. Internal siting of functional spaces has been with the intention of eliminating any sense of hierarchy. The design process involved intensive user group interaction, and numerous site visits with the native elders. The semi-circular shape is the first gesture toward the circular scheme of the master plan. This shape is meaningful and recurring native theme. A ceremonial arbour will be the focus of the space framed by the circle Both the arbour and the building are oriented on the cardinal points, with the building’s main entrance on the east axis, symbolizing the start of the day. The building is designed as a cold climate green building. This commitment to the new technology of environmental sustainability is in clear alignment with the historical aboriginal structures of the area. The building emerges from the sloping site, and evolves into a three storey building. The inner strip of the semicircular rooftop is planted, adding to the sense of the building growing out of the landscape and also supporting the intention of minimal disruption of the natural landscape of the undeveloped site. An area of study at the institute will be ethnobotany, the native use of indigenous plants. Traditional native structures in this area were mainly pithouses and the trees used were small diameter local species. This building is a combination of wood and concrete with a wood column structural system, visually representing pithouse poles rising up through the interior space. A glazed ventilation stack with operable windows is a central feature of the main part of the building, and a critical element in the green design. Tensioned fabric will used in the ventilation stack for shading. This reference to stretched skins is another element of aboriginal design which will also be utilized for the front entrance canopy. Exterior cladding will be horizontal wood strip siding. A challenging and successful scheme that adheres to the rigorous budget requirements of the Ministry’s value analysis process, this is the first phase of a much larger campus plan (43 acre site), and will be followed by campus housing.
from: Busby + Associatesdocument: Nicola Valley Institute of Technologyin detail XlnkS5FE XlnkC1786

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