This mixed-use building at the heart of campus creates a dynamic new centre for students and faculty. It is a hub of student activity, with a library, cafe, classrooms, study areas and administrative spaces. A four-storey living wall of about 1,300 plants adds to its health-promoting atmosphere, and its design is inspired by the Thompson River Valley’s indigenous peoples.

Project Essentials

  • LocationKamloops, BC
  • ClientThompson Rivers University
  • ArchitectDavid Nairne Architects & Diamond Schmitt Architects
  • Size77,000 ft² (7,153 m²)
  • BudgetC$23 million
  • Sustainable FeaturesTargets LEED Gold

The building’s most celebrated feature, however, is the Great Hall – a 300-seat “in the round” theatre. Referencing a traditional Salish winter pithouse, the structure is partially buried into the hillside, with a peaked sod exterior roof and an interior skylight that resembles a smoke hole. It was built from nearly 500 pine-beetle-kill peeled logs, exposed glulam beams and a concrete ring for structural restraint.

The main building, meanwhile, is concrete flat slab construction and a basement raft slab. One of the main building’s unique features is its triple-glazed curtain wall system – Fast + Epp utilized wood glulams for the structural framing.

As a fast-tracked project, a flexible and forward-thinking approach was crucial to the success of the project. Several projects were under construction concurrently in this relatively small community, so it was imperative to coordinate trades’ availability.