Year of Completion: 2019

Location: Edmonton, AB

A new social stair was inserted into the heart of the atrium, opening up the lower level to pedestrian traffic above, giving students a collaborative and comfortable space to study, rest, eat and engage with each other.

The Central Academic Building (CAB) project at the University of Alberta was a physical transformation at the confluence point of a bustling student body.

Based on consultation with students, faculty and University partners, there was a strong desire to resurrect a new identity for the aged and undefined space, as well as improve the relationship between the upper and lower levels of the building.

Our directive as a team was to create a hub for students and staff with better access to the existing food service area. Additional scope included assessment and recommendations of building improvements and deferred maintenance upgrades, such as updating mechanical, electrical and envelope systems.

These changes nurture the identity of the space and create a more profound connection to the main quad while maintaining efficient pedestrian traffic. The redevelopment satisfies the University’s vision of an integrated design, one that connects CAB to the greater campus and improves student access to services and special events.


This campus landmark has since become a successful social hub that invigorates the student experience.

We returned the lower level of the building to its brutalist architectural bones, removing the dated surface treatments while rejuvenating the space to service a modern student body.

Stephen M. Boyd

Architecture Ltd.