ArchitectDiamond Schmitt Architects
Construction ManagerEllisDon Limited, Inc.
Sheet Metal ContractorGage Metal Cladding Limited
Located in the center of campus, this new state-of-the-art academic facility is enveloped with copper as it is used for wall cladding on a variety of building faces. The new Centennial College Library and Academic Facility was designed to address the college's ambitions at many levels. At the scale of the campus (and visible from Highway 401), the project creates a gateway for existing college structures. For faculty from across departments, the building provides new and varied teaching spaces with a high-tech infrastructure. The library gains greater study, collections and archive facilities. Most importantly for Centennial, the new building provides an accessible, varied and welcoming environment for a diverse and expanding student body.
The project is located at the heart of the campus, adjacent to entry and transit routes, parking, and linked by a pedestrian bridge to the existing academic buildings. Along with the adjacent Student Centre to the east, the structure frames a new landscaped courtyard shared by all flanking structures.
The building's form is simply ordered: three rectangular masses extend east-west with the northerly and southerly bars containing enclosed classrooms, library stacks, offices and service spaces, and the centre band providing open-student gathering and work spaces that face into a central atrium. These three masses are shifted and offset from one another to create clear circulation paths and views to the outdoors. The shifting of these forms also breaks down the mass of the building and provides a more welcoming entry to the low concrete mass of the existing structures beyond. Glazed vertical bays extend across the north façade and up to the roof, suffusing the building interior with natural light by day and providing views to glowing study and student work spaces by night. The material palette of brick, copper, ground-face block and wood brings a durable simple richness to the basic construction of the early campus structures.
Within this palette of materials, copper has been used extensively in the building exterior. The inherent flexibility of copper was ideally suited for the curved forms of the auditorium, the three story-high saw tooth bay windows, and the interconnected series of skylights at roof level. The complex transitions from curved vertical to horizontal surfaces were also readily achievable with copper, as much of the work was prepared on site to suit the geometry of the substructure. These copper-clad forms provide a striking contrast to the simple rectangular mass of the core of the building; their materiality and profile provide a dramatic and identifiable presence for the college as seen from the adjacent highway and the approach to the campus. On closer view, the copper-clad elements provide a level of detail and craftsmanship: standing seam cladding was used at the roof level, while flat seam panels were utilized at the vertical window bays, soffits and curved auditorium walls.
Responsive to new ways of learning, the building provides over 670 study, research and collaborative work spaces for students. An array of technologies includes open-use workstations, media viewing carrels, technology studios that match the presentation capabilities of classrooms, video conferencing and wireless network access. Formal teaching spaces on the lower floors include 22 classrooms and a 200-seat auditorium (the largest within the college and configured for translation and broadcasting). These are supplemented by the ground level café and gallery, and the informal study spaces found on all floors of the building. All areas are grouped around a light-filled atrium that serves as the central meeting point on campus.
The college's vision for an integrated, forward-thinking academic community was paralleled by the institution's strong support for durable, high-quality materials and energy-efficient construction and systems. Extensive surface parking surrounding the project was re-configured and planting introduced to meet City of Toronto green standards. Measures such as planted roofs, a storm-water cistern and permeable paving were included at the exterior, supplemented as grey water re-use piping, high-efficiency fixtures and extensive access to daylight. A four-story bio-filter living wall is the centerpiece of the atrium and acts as a natural air purifier and humidification source, providing a luscious green interior to complement the quality and durability of the brick, wood panel and copper cladding at the exterior of the building.
Architectural Categories: Flat Seam Roofs and Walls, Standing Seam Roofs and Walls