Diamond and Schmitt's designs for new ACCE building in Ontario
The new Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence (ACCE) at Algonquin College’s Ottawa campus is a showpiece for innovative learning within the field of skilled trades. The new building, scheduled to open in the fall of 2011, helps to address the current skills shortage in the construction industry by providing classrooms, studios, laboratories and shops for 600 construction students as well as thousands more studying in related programs. Designed for LEED Platinum certification, the building will be a showcase and teaching laboratory for best practices in sustainable construction.
The new 180,000 sq ft building consolidates all of Algonquin College’s trades programs under one roof. The building is designed to act as a 'Living Laboratory' offering students a hands-on approach to learning. Several wall and floor assemblies, revealed in ‘cut-away’ sections, and mock-ups used during construction are exhibited in the atrium, exposing students to sustainable design practices and materials in an informal but didactic environment. The structural, environmental, and energy performance of the building is also monitored and displayed interactively, informing students and visitors about the processes at work around them.
The Centre for Construction Excellence inspires with its unique form that blends building and landscape, its varied and dramatic interior spaces and the playful use of colour to animate the facades. The park and garden spaces, undulating green roof, covering over 50% of the surface, and the bio-filter wall in the atrium form a single system of connected outdoor and indoor spaces. Each of them enriches student experience, enhances bio-diversity, and uses natural process to restore sites, reduce storm water run-off, reduce energy consumption, reduce urban heat islands and improve the indoor air. The Centre’s landscape serves as an expression of the environmental stewardship that is possible within our cities.
The building is planned around social spaces that encourage interdisciplinary interaction. The great hall with its two dramatic seating pods floating overhead welcomes the visitor into the building and a terraced commons is an informal work space for students. Balconies and windows overlook the atrium, affording cross and diagonal views to different spaces and activities.
The new building will identify Algonquin College as the focal point for skilled trades programs in eastern Ontario, attracting the best in educators, researchers and students, while positioning the City of Ottawa as a centre of excellence for trades’ professionals.
This project is a joint collaboration between Diamond and Schmitt Architects and Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects