Cowichan Campus features state-of-the-art health and science labs, computer labs and several multipurpose classrooms, a 110-seat lecture theatre, cafeteria and kitchen, library commons and many areas for students to gather and study. It has been designed to meet the gold standard for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design).
Just as the VIU Cowichan Campus was built to be a part of the Cowichan Place community, this sustainable building ensures a feeling of interconnection for all who use it. “Normally in a three-storey building, the campus becomes disconnected,” says Shiv Garyali, Principal, Garyali Architect Inc. “However, the expansive atrium space creates a feeling of inclusion and connection to the full facility on the inside.”
Another special feature is the glass walls throughout the classrom areas to avoid the feeling of being ‘boxed in’. “The classrooms are transparent with large areas to draw natural daylight into the corridors, but with obscured glazing up to eye level for privacy purposes,” says Garyali. “Good sound insulation was built in so the students would not be distracted by hallway activity.”
Landscaping was also a significant consider for this campus. “Landscape often comes at the end of a project,” says Garyali. “In this case, the building and landscaping were designed together so they flow into each other.
“We’re proud of the recognition that Cowichan Campus has earned,” says Ric Kelm, Executive Director, Infrastructure and Ancillary Services at VIU. “With features such as rooftop gardens, geo-exchange heating and cooling and rainwater collection, it is one of the most sustainable facilities on Vancouver Island both from a design, construction and operational perspective.”
The new campus serves students enrolled in university degree, business, health and human services, trade and applied technology, career and academic preparation and employability skills programs.
The campus is located in the Cowichan Place development which also includes facilities operated by the City of Duncan, the District of North Cowichan, and the Cowichan Valley School District. The site is a focal point for education, recreation and culture in the Cowichan Valley.
“It was a great project to work on, both from the perspective of the consultants and the users,” says Kelm. “At times, it was a challenge to get it ready for the fall of 2011 class schedule. We did, however, have an early run with some summer students so we felt confident that when the doors opened in September, everyone would be thrilled with the end results.”
On April 12, 2012 the university’s new Cowichan Campus received an Excellence Award in the education category at the 5th Annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards.
On May 16, 2012 in Whistler BC, Shiv Garyali, Principal Garyali Architect Inc was awarded the Roy Willwerth Precast Concrete Architectural Recognition Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Industry in; architectural design, sustainability, innovation and change; for positive leadership, industry-altering development and expansion; and for accelerating the growth of the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete industry from within the architectural and design communities.