Tuesday 31 May 2011


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The Engineering 5 Building is a multi-use engineering facility whose stated goal was the fostering of a vibrant intellectual community and the creation of a dramatic showcase for the creativity of the faculty and students.

Within a modest budget and a densely programmed footprint, two innovative applications of readily available technology were developed to create striking architectural statements for the building's exterior facades and its interior public space system.

As the worldwide economy and industry grow, the demand for skilled engineers is also expanding. Engineering‐5, the latest 160.000 sq.ft addition to the School of Engineering, University of Waterloo's (home for the Research in Motion), is designed to be the most advanced center for research and teaching.Clad in a futuristic diamond patterned fitted glass curtain wall, the modern six‐story building creates an innovative and inspirational learning environment, setting standards in higher education.

The lighting system is a conduit to the program spaces, connecting the dynamic and diversified engineering program; integrating learning with technology. Functional programs for Computer Science, Mechatronics and Electromagnetic Radiation Laboratories, Engine Test Cells, all have different requirements than standard classrooms and workshops, posing a challenge for lighting design.

To provide an integrated solution while meeting the program requirements, slim lines of fluorescent systems are selected to form the "bones" of the building, defining the east‐west axis and create a strong sense of orientation and geometry. At the second floor viewing gallery, the space is designed to allow students a 360° view of engineering projects from creation to completion. The simplicity of the lighting system provides visual clarity for viewing without obstruction.

Linear fluorescent lamps and green technology LEDs are used extensively to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability.

Designed as the primary spine at the center of the atrium, the main staircase is a distinctive feature while connecting workshops, labs, lecture halls, and lounges on different floors. Guard rail integrated fluorescents illuminate the steps on the stair interior while soft‐white flexible LED strips are used to outline the stair exterior structure. In contrast with the black perforated aluminum panels, the cool white LED strips formed a dramatic light sculpture in the atrium areas. Numerous on‐site lighting mock‐ups have been conducted to ensure the seamless LED line of light meets the design intent. The recessed LED strip lighting in the stair cladding provides functional lighting in the atrium.

Visible from the exterior and positioned at the heart of the floor plan, this abstract sculptural presence is a fitting expression of the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration.

The consolidation of these high efficiency, long life fixtures within the structure facilitates lamp changing and avoids the maintenance headaches that plague many high architectural volumes.

Inspired by the Latin phrase "per aspera ad astra" (learning as a way of reaching for the stars), blue LED "stars" form "sky gardens" on the atrium ceiling and above the main entrance.

Connectivity to the existing campus is provided by a bridge that flows through the Engineering 5 Building. The bridge lighting integrates thin fluorescents into the vertical structure. This pattern allows passing students an open view of the campus and helps bridge the university's past and present while providing a map for the future.


PERKINS+WILL Canada/Consullux Lighting Consultants/CEL

Consullux Lighting Consultants / CEL

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