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University of Alaska Fairbanks Dining Facility - Fairbanks, Alaska

Posted: November 9, 2017 | Projects

One of the major initiatives identified in the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ master plan is to expand and improve student life on campus. In order to achieve this goal, the first phase was to significantly improve the quality, space and size of the available dining areas and food services.

In a region where off-campus dining options are limited due to freezing subarctic conditions, the goal was to design an expansion to provide students a warm and welcoming location in which to socialize on campus.

The building’s simple orthogonal geometry of the exterior envelope counters the organic forms of the interior. The contrasting interior and exterior forms are unified by the use of color, texture, and light. The precedent for the design concept was the aurora borealis and its influence of movement, color, and light on sensory perception. The aurora borealis form was instrumental in weaving the sinuous form of the new marché-style service area with the existing adjacent food court.

The two levels are connected by a monumental stair way that is the “seeand- be-seen” element. The intentionally oversized circulation is flanked by a colored glass curtain wall utilizing the low sun angle to cast dramatic shadows and reflections deep into the interior space.

To optimize transparency in an area with extreme weather conditions, the design team incorporated vacuum-insulated panels into the curtain wall spandrel panels. Sensors are located outside, in the IGU, and in the building, collecting real-time data on the performance of the building’s envelope, which is displayed on an interactive touch screen.

The high-performance envelope was instrumental in achieving a 66% reduction in modeled energy use, complying with the aspirational 2030 Challenge by the AIA. This project achieved its goals – by revitalizing the heart and soul of the campus.

Perkins + Will
1301 5th Avenue, #2300, Seattle, WA 98101


Structural Engineer
KPFF Consulting Engineers
111 S.W. 5th Avenue, #2500, Portland, OR 97204

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Design Alaska, Inc.
601 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Civil Engineer
4041 B Street, Anchorage, AK 99503

General Contractor
GHEMM Company, Inc.
3861 Schacht Street, Fairbanks, AK 99701

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Date Bid: Dec 2012
Construction Period: Apr 2013 to Aug 2014
Total Square Feet: 50,000 Site: 1.7 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Sizes: Basement, 1,830; first floor, 21,650; second floor, 23,000; penthouse, 3,520; total, 50,000 square feet.
Building Height: Basement, 13'; first floor, 14'; second floor, 16'10"; penthouse, 13'; total, 50'.
Basic Construction Type: New/IIA.
Foundation: Cast-in-place.
Exterior Walls: CMU, curtain wall, composite wall panel, rainscreen system.
Roof: Membrane.
Floors: Metal deck with concrete topping slab.
Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.
KBTU/SF/yr: 62.8