TORONTO – One of the smallest universities in Ontario is the first post-secondary institution in Canada to complete a campus renewal using the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model. St. Jerome’s University, which is federated with the University of Waterloo, selected Diamond Schmitt Architects and Graham Construction for this highly collaborative process. The client, architect and contractor come together contractually to align themselves in a working relationship of full disclosure and shared risk and reward.
The project delivered a 110,000-square-foot student residence with 360 beds and 30,000-square-feet of academic space that effectively doubles the built form of the Waterloo, Ontario campus. The facility opened on October 1st, on time and on its $47-million budget.
“It was a new experience for us as architects and an opportunity to participate in one of the first IPD projects in Canada,” said David Dow, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The project comprises two buildings and reorients access and traffic to create a new campus gateway. The brick-clad volume of the academic facility has a spacious atrium with fully glazed ground floor and clerestory windows that allow natural light to flood the space. Accessed from this central hub are student study areas, six flexible classrooms and a hall with raked seating for 300.
The residence features twin seven-storey concrete towers configured to form two courtyards that support soft landscaping in one and an urban forecourt with vehicle drop-off in the other. A shared ground floor contains a sequence of common amenity spaces for use by residents. The TV room, music room, study spaces, a communal kitchen, games room and laundry are all arranged around a large open lounge space in a manner that reinforces student interaction. A full-sized gymnasium, yoga room and movie room round out the amenities.
The bedrooms are organized around twelve ‘houses’ of 30 students and two dons on each of the six floors in both towers in a mixture of single and double rooms. Each house has its rooms arrayed around a central core, which contains common functions such as shared washrooms and a lounge. The shared amenities create a collegial community atmosphere and increase student interaction within each house.
The IPD process is front-end heavy with client meetings involving all trades, consultants and subcontractors. “You have to get participants to shed previous work habits and learn new ones,” said Dow. “Project goals need to be constantly reiterated.” Key to the real-time information sharing of the IPD process is building information modeling, a process using 3D software to keep all parties informed of the design as it evolves.
“The project has been an overwhelming success,” said Darren Becks, Vice-President of Administration at St. Jerome’s University. “We’ve accomplished an innovative and challenging IPD project, which has brought St. Jerome’s a level of attention, nationally and internationally, that a small affiliated institution would never have garnered. Even though we’ve doubled our space, the design preserves that vital sense of community connection.”
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is a leading full-service architectural firm based in Toronto with an international reputation for design excellence and sustainable design solutions. An extensive portfolio includes academic buildings, libraries, performing arts centres, sports facilities, master plans, residential and commercial buildings. Equally extensive is work completed for the healthcare sector, with life science facilities, research laboratories and hospitals.