UBC: Donor Recognition
The Donor Recognition program at UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences recognizes both Campaign Donors and Lifetime Donors in iconic public art features. With all elements, it was critical for the environmental graphics to be complementary to the building architecture – in materials, scale, shape and tone. An intense collaboration was undertaken between the designer, the architect, the client and the stakeholders to ensure that this public art piece was harmonious with the building. My role was of Lead Creative & Project Manager from the initial pitch at the RFP stage - through stakeholder engagement, concept, design development, tender & CA, fabrication, install and launch.
Campaign Donor Recognition: Donors of the building's capital campaign are recognized in a system that includes a central donor recognition sculpture plus three tiers of room naming signage. The Campaign Donor Sculpture is centrally located in the building’s grand main atrium space. Mirroring the imagery of the twin trees that inspired the building architecture, the sculpture features twin Taxol molecules, derived from the Yew Tree, and used widely in cancer research. This imagery celebrates the link between nature and science, a relationship that inspires and informs the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ many achievements.
The sculpture includes three levels of materials: a background layer of hexagons holding donor names as an anchor, a dimensional layer of chrome molecule shapes and a layer of laser cut aluminum fronds that extrude organically from the sculpture – all creating a sense of movement and light play with the shadows they cast. The donor names include six levels of hierarchy that correspond to levels of giving – each level indicated by type size and physical placement.
The room naming signage carries through the shapes and characteristics of the sculpture in three tiers of recognition – a hierarchy instilled through size, placement and content. Each includes a donor name, biographical information and for the top tier, an engraved biographical image.
The resulting program is one that honours existing donor contributions, celebrates the work of the faculty and inspires students, visitors and future donors alike.
Lifetime Donor Recognition: Lifetime donors to the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences are recognized on an interactive tensile sculpture. Soaring floor to ceiling in the main atrium of the building, the strands represent the life-giving arteries in the human body, or sustaining roots of a tree. On each strand, cubes feature micrographic images of the medicines and nutrients that travel through these vital systems – including antibiotics, anesthetics, insulin, anti-histamines, analgesics and ibuprofen. Just as these medicines flow through a body’s system to support and strengthen it, so does the donor funding to support and strengthen the faculty. And as nutrients flowing through the roots to enable a tree to grow, the donors’ generousity enables the faculty to flourish.
A system of hierarchy is built in to the sculpture using mounting height and six different sizes of cubes – each representing a different level of giving. As each donor makes additional contributions over the course of their lifetime, their name will move from the smallest cube size to the largest. As a permanent art piece in the building – the sculpture needed to allow for years of future growth. The cubes currently hold the last 50 years of donor names, and the sculpture allows for a 300% increase in names to allow for maximum flexibility.
The sculpture is made of tensile steel cable that skims the angles of the building’s black glass walls. Custom acrylic and resin cubes are mounted on the cables fixed vertically, but intended to spin horizontally to capture the light and encourage exploration of donor names. Donor names are mounted on metal bands and affixed to each cube – allowing for ease of updates as donor contributions grow. Custom lighting was designed to cast sparkle and shadows as visitors interact with the sculpture.