Text description provided by the architects. The Masters of Digital Media (MDM) Program is an innovative, full-time professional Master’s degree in entertainment technology and digital media. It is primarily a team-based, industry-facing program focused on project learning.
Originally incubated in a retrofitted old Finning warehouse in 2007, the MDM Program had outgrown the space it previously occupied. The opportunity was to create a new state-of-the-art facility for the program with complementary uses that could enhance the success of the program. Students of the MDM Program are required to work long hours attending classes and participating in team projects on-site. Providing students with student housing on-site helps them meet the requirements of this demanding academic program. There is also a distinct social advantage to incorporating student housing with the academic activities of the MDM Program. Immersion in the learning environment fosters lasting relationships between students that will continue into their professional careers.
This new building houses the MDM Program and provides accommodations for those enrolled in the program.
The design of this building is a vessel for emerging technology set within an industrial context of the Great Northern Way Campus.
The concept is inspired by two themes or dialogues - technology and regionalism. This building seeks to express the program through a weaving and folding gesture in the architecture. The program is stacked with academic / retail at the ground floor and three levels of student housing above. A singular ribbon, folding and bending, collects these uses to engage the street as the catalyst marker on the site.
The wrapping gesture is directional to reflect the orientation of the student housing and to minimize solar heat gain on the east and west elevations. The folds cascade down the facade opening itself and presenting the lobby entry at the west corner of the building. The exterior wrap symbolizes industry and is expressed in the metal; the interior wrap symbolizes regionalism and is expressed in the use of wood.
To create presence within this modest footprint, the building massing is created from three architectural elements: the academic use, the student housing use, and the ribbon expression, joining the program elements. The massing is expressed in a 1-to-3 proportion, creating a landscape roof on the north side of the building. The individual student housing units are expressed through the punched windows, while the ground floor academic space is expressed as a continuous full-height glazing.