Centralia College TransAlta Commons


Serving as a replacement for the old Kemp Hall and Student Services Building, TransAlta Commons is a new 70,000 square-foot, three-story student building which houses student services, the student bookstore, administration offices, a large lecture hall, active learning spaces, a multipurpose space, and a kitchen that can also accommodate community events. The single-story commons space and the three-story student services area are separated by an open, four-story, glass-enclosed atrium with a sloping roof that doubles as the main entry to the building. Central to the atrium is a large, exposed glulam timber "learning landscape" staircase where students can study, relax, or give presentations.
The lateral force resisting system is a steel concentrically braced frame system, which is dramatically exposed throughout the building. In order to keep the atrium space clear of braced frames and allow for extensive daylighting, PCS used roof trusses to collect the lateral load from the atrium into the three-story portion of the building. Since the depth of the trusses also coincided with the mechanical penthouse on the roof, catwalks servicing the mechanical penthouse were routed through the trusses. PCS developed atrium trusses that served as roof members and mezzanine members for the atrium as well as collector elements to tie the three portions of the building together.
Photo credit: Janette Ryan