Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex

“Not only have the Diamond Schmitt team addressed the practicalities of tying together a confusing complex of buildings, built from the early 1960’s to the late 1970’s, into a unified whole, they have designed an elegant and welcoming solution with flexible lab space to support our high level researchers in chemical and petroleum engineering and excellent teaching, administrative and social spaces.”

Anne Underwood, Campus Architect, University of Calgary

The Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex was formerly a labyrinth of seven buildings built in the 1960s and 70s. The Diamond Schmitt designed phased addition and renovation provided much needed connection between existing programs, allowing for improved way-finding and circulation on campus, as well as modernizing the entire complex. The project is designed to accommodate increasing enrollment, improve the existing infrastructure, attract the best faculty and students, and promote the facility as Canada’s top engineering school.

The design fills the horseshoe campus with a glass box loaded with program and a soaring light-filled atrium at its centre, bringing necessary daylight to the heart of the complex while also providing a common gathering space. The building now provides a much more celebrated entrance, as well as many opportunities for informal gathering, study, and interaction.

Much of the original architecture has been preserved, with significant portions of the old precast cladding featured as archaeological elements within the new building. The construction of the new spaces has been carefully arranged to allow future changes in configuration. The labs were moved to the upper floors to reduce their ducted path to the roof and penthouse. The program includes advanced lab spaces to support research, new theatres for teaching, and open spaces for collaborative work that enrich the student experience.

Client University of Calgary
Completion 2016
Sustainability LEED Gold Certified

Collaborating Architects Gibbs Gage Architects
Photography Tom Arban, Ed White Photographics

Awards See all project awards
2018 Prairie Design Award – Interior Design Category
2017 Mayor’s Urban Design Awards, City of Calgary – Urban Architecture, Award of Merit
2017 BD+C Reconstruction Awards – Silver
Team See full project team