UBC Life Building 2201

Project Snapshot

Occupancy: December 2017
Project Manager: UBC Properties Trust; UBC Facilities Planning – Steven Lee
Architect: Perkins & Will
Room Capacity: 294

Project Summary

The Old Student Union Building, now named the UBC Life Building, is being re-purposed now that the AMS has moved into the UBC Student Nest.   As part of the Phase 1 project, which involves building systems renewal and the development of interim swing space to facilitate larger scale renewal of other buildings on campus, the old ballroom was converted into a 294-seat teaching theatre suitable as swing space for future projects where large theatres would be temporarily taken out of the classroom inventory. The first use is swing space for HEBB 100, so a preparation room has been set up with direct access into the theatre to allow demonstrations and experiments to be wheeled in. This classroom is the first large theatre on the UBC Vancouver campus to be built on a flat floor. Tables are tiered to three different heights to provide sightlines to the instructor and AV projection screens. Power infrastructure is built into a modular raised floor, which provides flexibility for future room uses.

With the projection wall situated lengthwise, the AV system was designed with matching pairs of large HD projection screens, positioned for optimal viewing from any seat in the classroom.  The instructor is able to display two different sources on each pair of screens, choosing from a variety of options including wireless presentation, laptop/portable devices, document cameras, and a built-in computer.  The room is also equipped with four high-definition motorized video cameras and media capture and streaming capability.


Easy access and movement: Ample and multiple aisles allow students and instructor to easily move through the room. Tables are tiered at 3 different heights (29”, 36”, 42”) to provide better sight lines and the option to stand at a table.

Supports collaboration: Furniture has been placed to facilitate small group discussions by having students turn to their neighbours either beside or behind them.

New technology: Dual source projection and multiple classroom technology sources that permit simultaneous display of up to two different sources. Media Capture / Stream provides the ability to record and stream.

Sustainable building practices: Furnishings selected from reputable vendors with a proven sustainability track record, and products used adhere to principles of sustainability.

Accessibility considerations:

  • Automatic door openers assist wheelchair users with entering the classroom.
  • Ambidextrous writing surfaces do not differentiate based on the user’s dominant hand.
  • Listening assist systems and proper acoustic treatments help those who are hard of hearing.
  • Multiple screens and cameras ensure the legibility of the information being projected.
  • Wide cross aisles and flat floor design enable multiple wheelchair accessible seating locations.
  • Higher tables provide students with the choice of sitting or standing. 1 height adjustable table is also available.

Project duration: September 2016 to December 2017