The C.K. Choi Building houses the Institute of Asian Research on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. The project marked the beginning of effort by the UBC planning department to position the school as leader in sustainable campus facilities. Completed fifteen years ago, before the kickoff of green rating systems such as LEED, it is considered a precursor to the sustainable design movement. Its extensive sustainability agenda consisted of water, energy and material conservation strategies including an ambitious goal to build with at least fifty percent reclaimed or recycled materials.
The project ultimately achieved that fifty percent goal and incorporated an array of reclaimed materials in the process. In fact, the two most distinctive elements of the building are comprised of reclaimed materials. These include the entire exterior cladding, made of early 20th century cobblestone bricks that once served as Vancouver’s downtown streets, and wood timber structural beams from a well known 1930’s campus building. The reuse of these materials not only diverted usable resources from the waste stream but provided a link to local and university history.
The success of the C.K. Choi Building offers an inspiring story of a determined, creative project team and client working together to do something innovative. In addition to long-term cost savings (due to energy efficiency) and the environmental benefits of building green, the project positioned UBC as a forward-thinking, early-adopter of sustainable building. The project won multiple awards after completion and it is still looked to as an important precedent for green design.
Reclaimed material (by application): Concrete/Masonry, Doors and Windows, Electrical, Plumbing, Wood/Lumber
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Date of Completion: 1996
Architect: Matsuzaki Wright Architects, Inc.
Client: University of British Columbia
Contractor: Countrywest Construction Ltd.