Canadian college for skilled trades teaches from the inside out with exposed components and LEED Platinum target
The Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence (ACCE), Completed in August 2011, provides innovative new environments for skilled trades education. By creating a distinctive, sustainable building with a LEED Platinum target, ACCE seeks to address a looming shortage in Ontario in the skilled trades. The College sought to make its program highly visible and accessible to potential students as well as faculty. It also strove to give a large building on a suburban arterial road scale, texture and visual interest.
In combining trades and design technology learning under one roof, ACCE provides ample opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange. Academic and student life opportunities are enhanced by a building plan based around interconnecting social spaces such as terraced seating, study pods, a roof amphitheatre and a café.
Built to be a ‘living laboratory', ACCE provides a stimulating context whereby the building's architectural, structural and electrical components are either exposed or revealed in cut-away sections. Additional exhibits and displays on sustainable design line a public concourse that bisects the building, linking ACCE across a new pedestrian bridge to the main campus on one side and to a bus terminal (and future LRT station) on the other. As such, ACCE serves as both a gateway and crossroads for the campus.
ACCE is a careful blending of building and landscape. The plazas, garden spaces, undulating green roof, and biofilter wall create a single system of connected outdoor and indoor spaces. Vertically proportioned storey-high metal panels and windows order the elevations, animated by solar sunshades that incorporate variations of the College's green colour scheme.
The new building identifies Algonquin College as the focal point for skilled trades programs in eastern Ontario, attracting the best in educators, researchers and students, while serving as an expression of the environmental stewardship that is possible within our cities.
This project was completed in a joint venture between Diamond Schmitt Architects and Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc.