College campus gets new public face

28 Oct 2011

Zeidler's Electronic Learning Centre introduces a central organisation and new vernacular

Mohawk College's Fennell Campus developed organically over 30 years with multiple buildings incorporated in a functional manner, resulting in a complex plan without clear organization.

When Zeidler Partnership was awarded the project, the College's direction was to provide a Learning Commons/Library, and introduce a central organization to the campus. The resulting Electronic Learning Centre is a gateway to the Fennell Campus at Mohawk College.

Located on Fennell Avenue and West 5th street, the Centre houses the Cummings Library and Learning Commons. College and community events are held on the outdoor green space surrounding the three-level centre, integrating the campus with the surrounding community. Gathering places for students and informal study areas connect the Fennell Avenue entrance to the indoor 'Main Street' of the campus.

The visibility created by the extensively glazed, colourful, transparent panels reinforces this connection. In addition to the architects' overarching goals related to the campus as a whole - establishing a gateway and a new face for Mohawk College - the project provides space for quiet study and for collaborative learning.

Inspired by the ways in which modern technology such as iPhones, iPads and personal computers influence 'plugged-in learning', the spaces within the collaboratorium are flexible and fully wired to accommodate current technology. Both as a gateway and a student learning space, the coloured glass enhances the sense of the building as a beacon.

Pure colours were chosen for the curtain wall. True reds, greens and blues were selected as well as rich shades of orange and yellow. Colour was used to create a sense of warmth for quiet student gathering and learning spaces inside. The brightly lit interior guides the students towards the building from the street on dark winter days.

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