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In Depth Case Studies

C. K. Choi Building for the Institute of Asian Research
(C. K. Choi Building)

This photograph shows the exterior roofline of the C. K. Choi Building.

Photo credit: Mike Sherman


  • Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Building type(s): Higher education, Commercial office
  • New construction
  • 34,400 ft2 (3,200 m2)
  • Project scope: 3-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed April 1996

The university office building houses five research centers on China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India and South Asia. A physical presence, both on the interior and the exterior, was required for each center while maintaining a unified look with no one center or culture dominating.

Environmental Aspects

The C. K. Choi Building for the Institiute of Asian Research has sought to integrate and collaborate in order to create a sustainable design. A campus building that challenged industry standards at every step, this structure showcases innovative uses of natural ventilation, daylighting, salvaged materials, composting toilets, "xeriscaping," etc. Resource conservation, embodied energy, operations over time, and human health/productivity were main concerns in this project.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by University of British Columbia, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 300 people, 40 hours per person per week

The building houses academic research offices and seminar rooms.

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Office (65%), Classroom (10%), Lobby/reception (10%), Circulation (10%), Restrooms (5%)

Outdoor Spaces:

Wildlife habitat, Restored landscape


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green framework, Green specifications, Open space preservation, Wetlands, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Water harvesting, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Graywater, Wastewater treatment, Insulation levels, Glazing, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Adaptable design, Durability, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, C&D waste management, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials

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