Canadian Construction Materials Centre
URY COMMENT - This LEED Platinum project was particularly strong in its combination of energy performance and architectural quality. The project incorporates several well considered green strategies including green roof and solar shading. The jury also felt that the design team had taken full advantage of the program, a school for a new generation of sustainable construction trades, by making the building itself a powerful educational tool.
The 18, 200m2 Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence [ACCE] is designed to address Ontario’s looming shortage of skilled tradespeople, and to train the next generation in sustainable building practices. In combining trades and design technology learning, ACCE provides ample opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange. The need for informal learning opportunities inspired the terraced seating, study pods, roof amphitheatre and the configuration of the cafe, which serves as a symbolic bridge between the academic tower and the trades wing.
The design concept for ACCE explicitly embraces nature. Bio-philic concepts support the positive experience of integrating natural systems in the constructed environment. The plazas, garden spaces, undulating green roof, and biofilter wall form a single system of connected outdoor and indoor spaces. Each element is designed to enrich student experience, enhance bio-diversity, use natural processes to reduce storm water run-off, energy consumption and the urban heat island effect - and to cleanse the air.
A 300, 000L cistern connected to roof drains captures rainwater for non-potable water requirements and supplies 100% of irrigation needs. High-efficiency fixtures are used throughout the facility. Exterior landscaping is native to minimize irrigation needs.
Air quality is enhanced through the use of a decoupled ventilation system. The ventilation system delivers outdoor air as required to maintain healthy levels of CO2 in each space. The 22 metre high biofilter living wall - a focal point of the atrium - is an active part of the air system, filtering undesirable VOCs and CO2, improving indoor air quality, and reducing HVAC operating costs.
Strategically placed perimeter windows optimize daylight and energy with minimal glazing to control envelope losses. Vertical sunshades that incorporate variations of the College’s green colour scheme reduce glare and solar loads while maintaining appropriate daylight conditions. Circular skylights are distributed over the trade training spaces to provide natural light to internal spaces that traditionally receive very little. The tower includes interior windows in core spaces facing the sky lit atrium.
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