The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Centre for Drug Research and Development is located at the corner of Wesbrook Mall and Agronomy Road, in the heart of UBC’s campus. The site consists of a 20 240 square metre parcel of land an important university entry point. With this in mind the building has been designed as a gateway to the southeast edge of the campus, engaging the community with a ground floor that is transparent and inviting — one that will showcase the public functions of the building. Nearby developments include University Endowment Lands/UBC residential communities on the East of Wesbrook, the Life Sciences Building to the North of Agronomy Road, and “Agronomy knoll” open space to the west. The latter is an open space that terminates the mid-block greenway connecting the southern part of campus, through university’s athletic facilities, to the Health Science Precinct.
The design reflects UBC’s world-class pharmaceutical science researchers, faculty, and the University’s status as an internationally recognized institution in scientific endeavors. Since architecture can, perhaps more than ever, give an international presence to particular schools and departments within universities, the design itself is intended to play a significant role in attracting and retaining the best in the scientific community from around the world.
The initial concept stems from the idea of trees whose branch system forms a canopy floating above the ground. As this organic network is abstracted, it is subsequently given tectonic manifestation, and the architecture takes on a more geometric form. The striking design provides enjoyable, livable spaces for research and learning, creating public and private spaces for the exchange of ideas. The conceptual tree trunks become atria filled with natural light permeates the adjacent spaces (laboratories, offices, etc.).
Incorporated on ground level is an exhibition space that can be navigated fluidly as a space of encounter for faculty, researchers, students, and the public. Upstairs is another exhibition zone that is dedicated to the history of medicine and the profession. The project takes into consideration the future needs of the pharmaceutical program. A vibrant node for science on the campus, the state-of-the-art building is intended to promote creativity and new methods for individual and collaborative research, representing the academic and scientific excellence for which UBC has become renowned.