University of Alaska, Wood Center
Project size: 125,000 SF
2030 Challenge Compliant
2016 Award of Citation, AIA Alaska Design Awards
2016 Facility Design Award of Excellence, Association of College Unions International (ACUI)
2015 Merit Award, Excellence in Architecture Building Renovation, Society for College and University Planning
University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ academic year occurs during the darkest part of year with temperatures reaching -45°F. A major intention of the Wood Center Expansion, as the first phase of the campus master plan, was to create a greater sense of student life and a ‘beacon of place’ at the center of the University to enliven the campus. To realize this, the design creates a colorful, vibrant beating heart of the campus with the integration of the Northern Lights’ influence of color and light on sensory perceptions to invigorate and attract the students while leveraging technological solutions to keep them warm. The student-centered expansion includes a new dining room to accommodate 500, servery, coffee house, lounge space, and various study/collaboration areas.
The Wood Center integrates a variety of sustainable strategies complying with the aspirational 2030 Challenge for energy use reduction; especially challenging in Fairbank’s sub-arctic climate. The project is achieving a 79% reduction in energy use through a high-performance building envelope, radiant floor heating, daylighting deep into the space, and highly efficient mechanical equipment.