Steel columns support an oversized cellular wood structure to create a new tree-like transit shelter at the University of British Columbia.

Designed by Public: Architecture + Communication, the geometric wood awnings are part of the mission to fill in visual gaps along the University Boulevard landscape.

It was decided the bus shelter should continue the canopies of adjacent buildings down the Boulevard into the centre of campus, while also acting as a conceptual extension of the nearby line of Katsura trees.

Using the image of a tree’s branch structure as inspiration, Public designed a geometric tessellation of irregular pentagons made from timber, clad in bronze-tinted glass and held up by slender steel posts.

The glass reflects UV rays, while the bronze tint will give the canopy a warm cast even as the wood weathers.

In order for the shelter to remain light, and to give a ‘floating’ illusion, structural elements take on multiple roles; the posts act as rainwater leaders, the precast ductile benches support steel map cases and both fit between the spacing of the posts to provide a windbreak.

12,000 self-tapping screws were drilled directly into the steel plates creating a moment connection and reducing the potential for deflection or buckling.

 The Boulevard sidewalk remains largely uninterrupted by the vertical structure, reducing impediments to pedestrian traffic and those gathering to catch a bus.

Courtesy Architect's Newspaper Blog and Public: Architecture and Communication