This radical two-phased transformation added two new floors to a nondescript 1960s-era building called Old Main – one of the university’s oldest structures – as well as a seismic upgrade (completed prior to the new addition), and an interior retrofit. It created a home for Canada’s first new law school in 30 years.

Project Essentials

  • LocationKamloops, BC
  • ClientThompson Rivers University
  • ArchitectDiamond Schmitt Architects
  • Size45,000 ft2 (4180 m2)
  • Budget$16M

For inspiration, the architect looked to the regional topography – the building’s undulating roof line mirrors Mount Peter and Mount Paul, which dominate the Kamloops horizon. Moving inside, a double-height atrium connects two wings of teaching spaces, offices and a law library. Full-height glazing connects the atrium and adjacent reading room, complemented by a sculptural spiral stair.

The two lower, existing floors (a mechanical penthouse) were reclad in curving bands to reflect the region’s Indigenous craft traditions. The bands bow outward to form two cedar-clad canopies, reinforcing the wave pattern of the roofline. 

Awards

  • WoodWorks USA

    2012 Eastern North American Wood Design Award - Engineering Design

  • National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, USA

    2011 Excellence in Structural Engineering for New Buildings Over $100 Million

  • Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia

    2011 Award of Excellence

Minimizing disruption to students was key for the client. To allow continuous operation of the classrooms throughout construction, Fast + Epp alongside the design-builder StructureCraft recommended a panelized approach. The roof was prefabricated as a kit-of-parts that were erected over a span of roughly six weeks. This also reduced their weight and lateral impact to the base building.