University of Calgary

In profile: University architect focuses on people first

UToday HomeMarch 15, 2013

By Sandy Bell

As a member of the association of university architects, Jane Ferrabee-Pendergast helps the University of Calgary create leading edge spaces. Photo by Riley BrandtAs a member of the association of university architects, Jane Ferrabee-Pendergast helps the University of Calgary create leading edge spaces. Photo by Riley BrandtAlthough interior and exterior physical spaces are her stock and trade, Jane Ferrabee-Pendergast says that the people at the University of Calgary are the best part of her work as university architect.

“I find it invigorating to talk with our students, faculty and staff about what’s important to them,” says Ferrabee-Pendergast. “And, it’s energizing to be part of a team focused on our potential to be a leading edge university.”

In July 2012, Ferrabee-Pendergast took on the reshaped role of university architect for Facilities Development, bringing her experience from 2006-2007 in the same position.

“The university architect’s responsibility is the intelligent management of inside and outside spaces,” says Ferrabee-Pendergast.

“The university’s academic and research plans are the framework to guide our investments of public funds. The plans help us make smart choices for the future as we repurpose old spaces, build new ones, establish design standards and pay attention to safety.” 

The management of university spaces is also guided by the Campus Master Plan, related policies and the Institutional Sustainability Plan. In the near future, the university will be developing plans for landscaping and utilities.

Ferrabee-Pendergast works closely with the university’s Office of Sustainability.  “Sustainability is a huge passion of mine, and every decision made by the Office of the University Architect has a green aspect or consideration.”

Direct involvement with students in the Faculty of Environmental Design is important to Ferrabee-Pendergast. To support their professional development, she teaches in the professional practice course, offers critique in the design studio and her office hires summer students.

Ferrabee-Pendergast focuses on building relationships outside of the University of Calgary too. Her office is the interface between the university and outside engineers, architects and planners, among others.

The University of Calgary can be a complex client for these external business partners. “As the point of contact for these partners, I do all I can to make us a good client, so we can bring out the best in everyone.”

 

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