The design strategy for this academic building focuses on the creation of an interactive and reciprocal environment for information and environmental technology. The project includes a 200-seat auditorium, student lounge, laboratories and a wide variety of state-of-the-art smart classrooms. The CEIT also features a large multi-storey atrium, a dramatic time-walk staircase, a water feature inspired by the Great Lakes, as well as an Earth Sciences Museum that displays precious artifacts such as dinosaur skeletons, fossils and bones. The expansive curved roof of the building is based on the Earth Science Faculty’s symbol—the drawdown—representing the lowering of the earth’s ground water level.
Sited on campus at the intersection of a major pedestrian route, the public spaces are the centre of the design, creating a focus for the building’s interdisciplinary group of occupants. The atrium acts as a public square along this route and includes many student amenities such as food services, a copy centre, lounge, study and locker spaces. All of these public study spaces are wired for laptop use. A conference centre opens out onto a new south-facing terrace. Flexibility was built into the project such that the building could be easily fit up as Type “A” Lab space in the future.
Canadian Architect Award of Excellence