SCUP Excellence in Landscape Architecture - General Design,
The University of British Columbia for Buchanan Courtyards
|Photo by Chris Phillips|
The Buchanan Courtyards project revitalizes two courtyards in a complex of buildings housing the Faculty of Arts, and is the first Public Realm Plan project to be completed at the University of British Columbia.
A major challenge was the original landscape, which reflected the surrounding modernist architecture: austere and underdeveloped, with virtually no seating, weather-protected areas, or other animating features. The courtyards had to be designed so students, faculty and staff would be drawn to congregate and interact there.
The jury commented, “ . . . very beautiful and polished . . . real landscape design . . . real programming . . . before and after is dramatic . . . the way people use the space is fun . . . responds to program very well . . . interior spaces have great relationship with courtyard space, one of the objectives of great landscape design . . .”
Each courtyard was designed to have a distinct character. The West Courtyard is a gathering place enlivened by exhibitions, lectures and performances and the East Courtyard is an informal place for reflection and relaxation, with a rain garden and striking planting. The West Courtyard accommodates individuals and groups as large as 1,000. The design is more than a collection of landscape elements; it provides a frame and forum for a range of engaging and transformative experiences.
The project remedies the courtyards’ gradual erosion in appearance and functionality over fifty years, renewing these public spaces to accommodate new needs, identities and programming of its users.
The completed project models open spaces that are designed to facilitate interaction and activity. It reflects the belief that academic life is enhanced through informal encounters and learning outside of the classroom.
“The design is more than a collection of landscape elements; it provides a frame and forum for a range of engaging and transformative experiences. The project has resulted in nothing short of a total transformation of the Buchanan Courtyards from austere, unloved spaces into hubs of community activity and engagement,” says Dean Gregory, campus landscape architect.
Project Team: The University of British Columbia; also Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg; Public Architecture; Fast + Epp; Vincent Helton & Associates; 3D Services; Stantec; Acumen; EOS Lightmedia