Chandler Architecture

 

 

As a part of a large scale undertaking to improve and expand its campus facilities, UPEI selected our firm to design a new student residence as well as develop a renovation plan for their existing housing. We proposed a slightly different site for the new building which would position it closer to existing access roads and allow a physical connection to and expansion of the existing Dining Hall. The site chosen was a prominent location bordering an open field along University Avenue, one of the main access routes to the Downtown Area.

With this site, the construction of the new residence presented the opportunity to establish an anchor for the south end of the campus as well as providing a safe and quality residence experience for students. With our client’s input and encouragement, we sought to develop a design which would be sympathetic to the existing campus architecture, express permanence and stability and be welcoming yet secure.

After evaluating a variety of designs, it was concluded that suites organized along a central corridor would offer the most efficient configuration for the building and also the best suited to the site. The ‘spine’ was then cranked by 15 degrees at 3 points to follow the site contours and prevent the interior corridors from appearing overly long. With this basic form set, it was determined that the exterior and corridor walls would be load bearing masonry and that precast concrete planks would be used for the floor structure. The use of concrete block for these walls as well as those between suites provided the additional benefits of fire separation, noise reduction and resistance to vandalism. The precast planks, while presenting certain challenges, allowed a relatively shallow structural floor which could be fabricated under controlled conditions and installed on site quickly.

After considering a number of possible claddings, it was agreed that the building should be predominantly brick with stone accent banding and base to articulate the elevation and reduce the perception of height. Colours were chosen to coordinate with other buildings on campus and to blend with the existing Wanda Wyatt Dining Hall to which the Residence is attached. The finished building effectively forms a southern gateway to the University. It’s appearance and its construction are solid, grounded and permanent and it effectively extends and completes this section of the campus. Response to the building has been extremely positive from both the general spublic and the occupants.