February 2015

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FEBRUARY 2015 | 75 Collider Centre for Technology Commercialization – Western University PHOTOGRAPHY DYLAN DURST Collider Centre for Technology Commercialization – Western University by DAN O'REILLY A recently opened facility in a new greenfield manufacturing research park on the outskirts of London, Ontario is a pivotal plank in a long- term strategy to restore southwestern Ontario's prominence as an important manufacturing sector. Designed by Cannon Design, with s t r uc t u r a l/ele c t r ic a l/me cha n ic a l/ civil/LEED design by Vanderwesten Rutherford Mantecon ( VRM) and constructed by Tonda Construction Limited, the $7.5-million, 27,000-square- foot Collider Centre for Technology Commercialization is intended to encour- age collaboration between Western University and industry research teams. Located in the region's new 60-acre Advanced Manufacturing Park, it is comprised of a central atrium and two linking wings, or "coils." One is an indus- trial coil with an array of fully equipped laboratories, small research bays and private industrial type spaces. The sec- ond is an academic coil containing stu- dent study spaces, faculty offices and research areas. There is also a num- ber of collaborative "collision spaces" between the two sections. In fact, the structural steel and cur- tain wall building has been dubbed the "Collider" because its purpose is to encourage the research and industry teams to "collide" and more effectively collaborate on new ideas, innovations and inventions that create new products for the market. It is anticipated to be one of North America's go-to centres for research, test ing and commercializat ion of advanced manufac t uring technol- ogy, according to its project partners that include the University, Fanshawe College and the City of London. "That was the name we came up with during the conceptual design pro- cess and it just sort of got adopted," says Andrew King, Cannon's design principal. Toronto-based Cannon had actually created the master plan for the Advanced Manufacturing Park, but that didn't make the process of designing and construct- ing the Collider any easier, he says. "It was almost a design-build proj- ect," says King, in a summary of the intensive 16-month time frame where the project moved from conceptual design to construction completion ear- lier in 2014. The timetable was driven by the need to complete the project on time to be eligible for matching funding from the Government of Canada's Federal Development Ministry for Southern Ontario (FedDev). Tony Mantecon adds, "having VRM provide civil, structural, mechanical and electrical disciplines proved to be extremely beneficial for such an acceler- ated design phase, as it allowed for con- stant collaboration and co-ordination between engineering departments." During the design stage the archi- tects successfully recommended an original site envisioned by Western University be moved slightly so that it would be located at the bend or "ful- crum" of Advanced Avenue, the major park road, says Cannon associate project designer and project manager Daniel Soleski. "The shape of the build- ing is essentially a bending bar that conforms to the trajectory of atoms in a super collider . . . and to the selected site," says Soleski. As a result, a number of key objec- tives were achieved. These included creating a more defined edge to the Western University campus quadrant of the park – which will eventually also be the site of a Fanshawe College cam- pus. Plus, it gave the Collider a more prominent and pleasing public pres- ence. Highlighted by curtain wall and aluminum panels, the front entrance boasts a public plaza where visitors can be dropped off while their drivers park at the rear of the building. From there they can access the cen- tral atrium via a glass corridor that extends along the length of the build- ing. Featuring breakout areas, seating and white board stations, the corridor helps to foster and promote the "inter- action and creative collisions" between industrial and university researchers, says Soleski. Within the atrium is an amphitheatre with a shared staircase serving both the academic and industrial sections. Social functions can also be held in the amphitheatre, which can accommodate between 60 to 80 people, Soleski says. "The Collider is a unique building that not only houses collaboration but helps to accelerate it." Touching on other aspects of the building, Soleski points out the interior was designed holistically with the exte- rior, with two material "ribbons" partly wrapping itself into the interior, termi- nating at the staircase. Lighting, privacy and security were priority planning considerations, as was future growth. The Collider's modular configuration and the specific location on the overall site facilitate the ease of future expan- sion along the two legs of the building. Potential additions at either end of the building were fully considered in the construction of end walls, both struc- turally as well as architecturally, he says. In the lower level, along the entire back of the building, is a large data cen- tre with enough physical space that can accommodate long-term informa- tion technology needs, not just of the Collider, but other buildings as the park evolves, says Soleski. Construction of the building began in July 2013 and by the end of March 2014 substantial completion had been reached, says Tonda Construction project manager Paul Walkom. Close co-operation among the owners, the con- sultants, Tonda and a "list of trusted sub- trades" contributed to that achievement. "Western is now in a much better position to attract and accommodate potential clients from around the globe," says Western Research Park's execu- tive director Paul Paolatto, comment- ing on the building's construction and industry reaction to it. Three business tenants who are focused on the design development and mass-production of lightweight materials from composites have taken up space there, as have the university research teams. The Collider is actually the third research facility to be established in the Advanced Manufacturing Park. The park is also home to the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research and the WindEEE Research Institute, he says. Located in a high-profile setting adja- cent to Highway 401, North America's busiest highway, the park is dedicated to "developing the next generation of inno- vative manufacturing products, pro- cesses and skilled resources in Canada," says Paolatto, referring to high-tech "environmentally benign" manufactur- ers who can easily adjust their operations and who often depend on flexible space. A unique public private partner- ship was formed by the University, the City of London and Fanshawe College to establish the park, in part, as a response to a number of plant closures and relocations by more traditional manufactures in the region during the past few years. Western is initially drawing upon existing staff and resources from the Faculty of Engineering to support the Park's research mandate. However, it has also engaged the expertise and expe- rience of the German-based Fraunhofer Institute, "which is widely recognized as a global leader in the development of manufactured products and processes from composites," says Paolatto. "It could take anywhere from 15 to 20 years to fully develop the park." A LOCATION 2544 Advanced Avenue, London, Ontario OWNER/DEVELOPER University of Western Ontario / Fanshawe College / City of London ARCHITECT Cannon Design CONSTRUCTION MANAGER/GENERAL CONTRACTOR Tonda Construction Limited STRUCTURAL/MECHANICAL/ ELECTRICAL/CIVIL/LEED CONSULTANT Vanderwesten Rutherford Mantecon TOTAL BUILDING AREA 27,000 square feet TOTAL PROJECT COST $13.7 million TOTAL CONSTRUCTION COST $7.5 million

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