University of Saskatchewan - Gordon Oakes - Red Bear Student Center


Gordon Oakes' Red Bear Student Center is like a medicine wheel. The building has four quadrants representing the four cardinal directions. Each of these directions represents a season and has a particular color - south (summer, red), east (spring, yellow), west (fall, dark but not black), and north (winter, white). The entrance is on the south side and a person will move clockwise through the building. Along the east side of the building, the wall will gently curve back on itself and enter the building, eventually enveloping the ceremonial space at the centre, and returning to the earth as the focal form of the western stairwell. The building's design is based on the notion of a circle being the symbolic base for healing, knowledge, and equality - the foundations for all indigenous ceremonies. Therefore, the central gathering space is both the symbolic and systemic base for the building's plan. Each department is anchored to this central space and it will be the departure point for all other parts of the building.

Construction started in July  2013 and the structural steel components are now on the finishing stage of erection. Scope includes all structural and miscellaneous steel components including the stairs. BIM enables fast-tracked schedule.

With the circular shape of the building and sloping roof system, detailing the peripheral steel components required a 3D visualization and systematic approach in modeling. Fascia is sloping on a split level that requires a careful and diligent method of modeling.

The project became successful because of the effective BIM collaboration with the detailing team and fabrication team during the detailing stage. This made detailing easier and enabled the resolution of conflicts and questions effectively. With the help of Tekla Structures, the teams were able to model and detail with ease and precision in all components. Up to this date, not a single report of problem with regard to the erection and installation has been received - which certainly is  great news!