University College of the North – Thompson Manitoba Campus
The University College of the North, designed by Winnipeg-based Architecture49, is located in a region of Manitoba abundant in natural resources, beautiful lakes, rivers, forests and minerals; serving communities steeped in Aboriginal cultures and traditions. Established in 2004, UCN is a unique post-secondary institution offering trades, adult education, certificate, diploma and university degree granting programs.
The new campus building has a floor area of 87,780sf, and was designed and built in conjunction with renovations to the existing Thompson Regional Community Centre on site, to create a ‘town centre’. The two buildings are connected, sharing amenities such as food services, Gymnasium, Day Care and Library. The campus building is a four-storey structure with visual and spiritual connection to the Burntwood River on the north side of the site.
The south façade is the public face of the new campus as you enter the site. Conceptually it is transparent, reflective of the educational and community programs contained within. The curvature of the footprint creates a welcoming gathering place with southern exposure, protected from the north winter winds.
The design intent was to simplify the materiality of the building, using materials that relate to the region, and aboriginal cultural values. With this in mind, the building utilized local granite, wood, high performance curtain-wall systems and metal cladding. Green roofs, sloping up from grade level, will provide a natural outdoor environment for students and staff, and give the appearance the building grows out of the land. A dramatic and welcoming two-storey main entrance strengthens the connection to the Community Centre, and act as the central meeting area.
Further, the south facade of the building has a striking array of horizontal solar slats enclosing levels three and four that will form the architectural ‘signature facade’. The slats were inspired by the vernacular aboriginal slat building techniques and the slat craftsmanship of the canoes used by native peoples for transportation on the Burntwood River.
Architecture has a social responsibility. The design intent was to express the community’s values through architecture. Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing demographic in Canada. Lack of access to good education is a major problem facing First Nations. The UCN campus is an inviting destination that inspires and connects the community, and makes the First Nation students feel welcome.
Building Area: 87,780sf (8,155sm)
Building Height: 4 storeys
Building Construction cost: $ 55,000,000
Construction cost with site work $ 61,000,000
Construction Schedule: 36 months
- Integrated Design Team
Owners Manitoba Infrastructure & Transportation
Clients University College of the North
Architect Architecture49 Inc. (formerly Smith Carter Architects)
Interiors & Furniture Architecture49 Inc. (formerly Smith Carter Architects)
Lanscape Architect Architecture49 Inc. (formerly Smith Carter Architects)
Structural Engineer Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd.
Mechanical Engineer WSP (formerly Smith Carter Architects & Engineers)
Electrical Engineer WSP (formerly Smith Carter Architects & Engineers)
Civil Engineer Neegan Burnside Ltd.
Energy Engineer GF Shymko & Associates Inc
LEED Consultant Morrison Hershfield
Acoustic Consultant Dan Lyzun & Associates Ltd.
Code Consultant LMDG Building Code Consultants Ltd.
3D Visualizer Norm Li AG & I Inc.
Artist/Carver Northern Buffalo Sculpture
Construction Manager PCL Constructors Canada
Electrical Contractor Wescan
Mechanical Contractor Wescan
Glazing & Curtain Wall Border Group of Companies Inc.
Masonry & Cladding Gracom
Roofing & Green Roof Oakwood Roofing & Sheet Metal
Roads & Site Work Smook Contractors Ltd.
Drywall & Interiors QSI Interiors Ltd.
Millwork FC Woodworks
Steel Fabrication Abesco
Precast Concrete Haywood
Painting Valour Decorating
Gabion walls Lakefront Restorers
Floors & Tile Fabris Milano Group
Flooring Imperial Flooring
Landscaping Len’s Landscaping
Concrete PCL Concrete