TORONTO – Two buildings designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects have been recognized for their outstanding use of wood in architecture.
The DARE District at Ottawa’s Algonquin College won the Mass Timber Award at WoodWORKS!, the premier event dedicated to wood design and construction in Ontario. The Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre at Laurentian University in Sudbury won the Institutional Award for projects under $15 million.
The DARE (Discovery, Applied Research and Entrepreneurship) District at Algonquin College is a new centre for learning, innovation and entrepreneurship that features state-of-the-art collaborative environments with an emphasis on the sharing and embracing of Indigenous knowledge.
The 80,000-square-foot facility features a double-height library with a dramatic vaulted mass timber roof and exposed undulating glulam beams. LED up-lighting on the wood deck enhances the warm wood tones to create a distinct profile that is now a campus beacon.
“The use of wood was key to achieving the distinctive roof profile of this LEED Gold registered facility,” said Sarah Low, Associate, Diamond Schmitt Architects, whose joint venture partner on the project was Edward J. Cuhaci & Associate Architects.
Nail-laminated timber (NLT) panels and glulam beams were fabricated off-site and craned into position, quickly, efficiently and cleanly. Prominent glulam columns also function as mullions for a three-storey curtain wall and create the effect of a dynamic wood screen.
At Laurentian University, the Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre (ISLC) designed in collaboration with Blackwell Structural Engineers is a new construction that is part of a campus-wide renewal. The circular room’s use of wood both as structure and interior finish creates a strong link to the surrounding natural environment. The room is lined with flat sawn Douglas fir planks that match glulam arches above. Varying gaps between the fins provide views and direct access to the outdoor program area. The ISLC is a versatile space that supports the university’s Indigenous community, allowing for teaching, meetings and special celebrations.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York City. The firm’s extensive portfolio includes performing arts centres, post-secondary facilities, and residential, institutional and commercial buildings. Current projects include the Collection and Conservation Centre at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, Robarts Common at the University of Toronto and Buddy Holly Hall in Lubbock, Texas.