The design was the winner of a design-build competition, including leading athletic
facility architects and builders, to create a new Fitness and Wellness Centre Addition on
the north side of the existing gymnasium at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
Conceived to demonstrate innovative wood construction technology, in support of the
main funder’s objective to promote the best of the BC wood industry, the new facility
will accommodate fitness space, an indoor climbing wall, and multipurpose studios for
dance, yoga, martial arts, and social functions.
The design shifts away from the heaviness of the existing gym complex - becoming a
lightweight pavilion that engages both the adjacent landscape and the main pedestrian
axis of the campus. The expression evokes the organic structure and athleticism of the
human body - a light-filled, athletic form in motion.
The structure presents an innovative use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels
(normally used only for walls and decks), which have been adapted for use as deep,
slender beams and columns fashioned together with hidden epoxied steel mesh and
simple screws to form a rigid two-way span reminiscent of the structure of an aircraft
wing – the wing itself being based on the organic, cellular structure of bone. The CLT
panels have been shaped for maximum efficiency, with multiple components cut from
standard rectangular panels with minimal waste. Imagine a balsa wood model aircraft
with the parts stamped out of a rectangular sheet of wood. Here the efficiency comes
from “stamping” precise shapes out of large simple pieces of wood, rather than the
complicated laying up of curved glue-laminated columns and beams. The roof deck
is also formed of CLT, as are composite CLT/concrete floors, which provide excellent
rigidity, acoustic separation and two-way spanning ability. The CLT also forms partitions
and millwork and incorporates distinctive BC beetle kill pine and BC Engleman spruce.