UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
UBC, VANCOUVER, BC
The new, 5,000 m2 UBC Quantum Matter Institute (QMI), a large-scale addition to the existing Brimacombe Building, accommodates both applied and theoretical research, provides scientists access to specialized facilities and equipment, and creates opportunities for synergies with the Faculty of Applied Science. A number of design decisions support the collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of QMI’s mission: Labs are arranged to support long-term flexibility, acting essentially as re-configurable stages upon which new research activities can unfold. The junctures where the QMI and Brimacombe buildings meet are social hubs that encourage interactions, exchanges, and cross-pollination of ideas between researchers. Taking inspiration from illustrations of crystal structure interfaces – "where things get interesting" according to our client – these social spaces skew and transform pragmatic rooms and corridors to take users momentarily out of routine. Circulation, artifact displays, and collaboration zones are sandwiched between three lab blocks furthering the likelihood of crossovers.
Elements of the building design represent some of the research conducted inside: Through a subtle and literal twist, brick cladding has become a representation of molecular latticework, while the visual interplay of two stair casings produces a Moire pattern, the same pattern seen when viewing graphene surfaces at the atomic level.