The Thea Koerner House (TKH) was established in 1961 as a result of a donation to UBC by Leon J. Koerner in memory of his wife. The building received the Massey Gold Medal in 1961 for its architectural design, and preserves much of its historical character to today, with features such as an oil painting of Thea Koerner, wall-upon-wall of books, and a marbled fireplace mantel. The space was intended to act as a ‘home away from home’ for graduate students by promoting the social, intellectual, cultural, and recreational interests of UBC graduate students.
Over time, the use and layout of the building was modified for differing needs, making it no longer the best fit for its original purpose. Simlutaneously, the graduate student body grew significantly since the completion of the building from a couple of thousand to exceeding 10,000 with differing needs than in the sixties. Additionally, built in the middle of the 20th century, the building does not currently align with modern sustainability and accessibility standards
Revitalize Thea Koerner House to serve the needs of the 21st century UBC graduate student community and fulfill its original mission and vision to the fullest potential.
Conserve the heritage elements and incorporate sustainable practices.
The GLC in UBC's Strategic Vision
People and places
The Graduate Life Centre will become an inspiring space, and the core of an inclusive thriving graduate student community, supporting each graduate student on their journey to excellence and fulfillment.
The combination of formal and informal spaces open to graduate students of all disciplines will facilitate the organic growth of trans-disciplinary collaboration, knowledge exchange, and the development of a research culture characterized by mutual support.
The Graduate Life Centre will redefine the graduate student experience on the UBC campus for many generations of students. The combination of structured programming and informal spaces, where graduate students are empowered to pursue their own interests will foster interdisciplinary learning for future generations of professionals and scholars.
Local and Global Engagement
An inclusive space where graduate students can meet and socialize, without any barriers, can become the corner stone of new global relationships between current students. In this way, the Graduate Life Centre can be at the core of the experience, and engagement of future alumni, creating the basis for support and collaboration across generations of UBC graduate students.
Project Timeline & Future Plans
2019: Student Consultation
2020: Research & Planning
2022: Phase 1 Design and Tender
2023: The Future Phases
Project Sponsors and Support
The Graduate Life Centre is a collaborative project co-sponsored by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Vice-President Students, and the Graduate Student Society.
The sponsors are very thankful to all persons and departments who have provided in-kind and financial support, including the President, the Provost and Vice-President Academic, Facilities Planning, Infrastructure Development and Building Operations.