ofThe 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, targeting LEED Platinum certification, demonstrates ingenuity and design excellence in sustainability.
Completed in August 2011, this new 195,000 sq-ft building addresses the current skills shortage in the construction industry by providing classrooms, studios, laboratories and shops for 2,600 students in a highly-efficient combination of rigorous structure and flexible space, providing generous public spaces and synergies between professional disciplines.
The dynamic form blends building with landscape, creating varied and dramatic interior spaces, and uses colour to animate facades. A 64,580 sq-ft vegetative 'ribbon', which is made up of a park, garden spaces, undulating green roof and a bio-filter wall, form a single system of connected outdoor and indoor spaces. Each of these elements enriches student experience; enhances bio-diversity; reduces storm water run-off; reduces energy consumption and filters the indoor air. In addition, the 'ribbon' unifies the low and tall building forms.
While the landscape defines the Centre's profile, line and colour unifies its edges. Vertically banded storey-high panels and windows dominate the walls, animated by solar sunshades that incorporate five distinct greens, each a variant on the College's own corporate identity. Viewed in motion from cars and buses along the building's east elevation, the coloured fins are designed to be seen as a constantly changing oblique façade.
The new building identifies Algonquin College as the focal point for skilled trades programmes 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.
Diamond and Schmitt Architects / Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc.