TORONTO – An interlaying of new space and existing structure defines the expanded Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, which received an Interior Design Award at the Prairie Design Awards.
The Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Engineering Complex adds an 18,300-square-metre state-of-the-art expansion to the school with new connections that integrate seven existing structures. A glass box loaded with program and a soaring light-filled atrium at its centre bring abundant daylight to the heart of the complex while also providing a common gathering space and improved orientation for students.
Significant portions of the old precast cladding are internalized to become major archaeological elements within the new building. A three-storey addition allowed the existing concrete stair to be extended using steel to achieve a lighter, contemporary look that mimics the profile of the original. Soft furnishing in bold patterns and colour animate the amphitheatre seating in the atrium.
To counter the unwanted effects of sunlight, hundreds of sensor-embedded glass panels were installed across the building’s south-facing facade. These panels tint to darker shades when exposed to direct sun, similar to the way transitional sunglasses shift from clear to dark. The four-storey glass wall is also programmable, allowing graphics to appear across the facade.
In collaboration with our partner Gibbs Gage Architects, the project, which includes an additional 11,000 square metres of renovated space, transforms engineering education at the university and creates a new focus and crossroads for this leading research institution.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is based in Toronto with studios in Vancouver and New York City. An extensive portfolio includes performing arts centres, post-secondary facilities, and residential, institutional and commercial buildings. Current projects include a new campus for York University in Markham, Ontario and the new home for the Senate of Canada in Ottawa. The firm is shortlisted for the design of the new Ottawa central library.