December 2015

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DECEMBER 2015 | 65 Laurentian University – Campus Modernization RENDERINGS COURTESY DIAMOND SCHMITT ARCHITECTS Laurentian University – Campus Modernization by SUSAN PEDERSON L aurentian University has never suf- fered from an identity crisis. It was founded in 1960, with a mandate to provide "an outstanding university experience, in English and French, with a comprehensive approach to Indigenous education," and has successfully done so for over a half a century. Visually, how- ever, the campus suffered from a lack of identifiable and clear entry points. Not any more. Laurentian is smack- dab in the middle of a $50.9-million facelift, and now boasts, among a myr- iad of other upgrades, a stunning visual entryway to the campus: the exten- sively remodelled Alphonse Raymond Building. The building has been re- imagined with the creation of a new entrance, improved classrooms and offices, new student gathering space, stadium seating between the second and third floors and accessibility to all levels. It is now truly the "welcome cen- tre" of the campus. In this and other buildings, curtain- wall glazing replaces concrete walls and the newly light-filled spaces are punctuated with hits of colour through- out. Sydney Browne, principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects, explains, "The original buildings on the campus were made of a pallet of materials with a lot of concrete, and not a lot of win- dows or colour. We opened up some of the spaces in the Alphonse Raymond Building and the Parker Building, and in both of those instances, added a lot more colour and wood." Gra nd s t at ement s, sea m lessly blended, seem to be a hallmark of this campus modernization. The ceiling feature in the Parker Dining building, for example, is a remarkable long-span structure of undulating wood and light suspended above the main corridor. In addition, Diamond Schmitt worked closely with local photographer Don Johnston to provide an overscale visual accent to the exterior of the Alphonse Raymond Building. "We selected a couple of Johnston's images, and used super pixilated versions to wrap the exterior of the entrance to the Alphonse Raymond Building, as well as in smaller areas on campus," says Browne. Nine dif ferent buildings were involved in the modernization proj- ect, including old, new, previously renovated, original condition, class- rooms, student activity areas, labora- tories, offices, food service areas and lecture halls. The preliminary phase of Campus Modernization was carried out previously by Prosperi Construction Company Ltd., with renovations to the Science building that included construc- tion of the new DNA lab, as well as reno- vations to the School of Education. Cy Rheault Construction carried out work on the first phase of the Laurentian University School of Architecture (2013) and renovations to the single student residence (2014), and is on hand to carry this build through to its completion in December 2016. "We are halfway through the project financially," says Brad Parkes, executive director of facility services. "I also believe we are technically through some of the toughest work." Tough work included the logistics of dealing with half-century-old buildings with inconsistent drawings, surprises each time a building was opened up and the fact that the university is basically built on bedrock. Ian Mount for t , pr incipal w it h Blackwell Structural Engineers explains, "Building on bedrock is good and bad. On the positive side, the rock has excellent capacity and any concerns related to set- tlement of foundations can be put to rest. On the flip side, rock elevations can vary significantly over small areas. In one area, inferred bedrock turned out to be cobble material and the foundations had to be revised to a micropile deep founda- tion system." Micropiles, open minds and the cre- ative use of materials when things went sideways have so far kept this project on time and on budget. When the factory that produced the specialized science lab counters went under, for example, clever use of wood and epoxy saved the day. With input from the building and fire departments to ensure codes were met, it has provided a temporary solu- tion that has allowed the labs to be put back into use. Mechanical and electrical systems added to the complexity of the build, with some systems being obsolete, and others being relatively new. "As a result the M & E design solutions needed to be unique to each building area. Not only did the design team need to find ways to weave modern mechanical and electri- cal systems into existing conditions, but budget constraints also had to be accom- modated. Frequently new services had to be routed around existing services that had to remain," says Nao Nguyen, asso- ciate principal, Crossey Engineering Ltd. In addition, the laboratory renova- tion needed to accommodate significant quantities of outside air make-up for fume hood exhaust. In the end, an unde- rutilized part of the building was con- verted into a heat recovery make-up air system mechanical room. "Its proximity to the laboratory space limited the cost space constraints of long runs of make- up air ducts and reduced energy con- sumption," adds Louis Comeau, associate with Crossey. To save energy and avoid the need for extensive air conditioning in the atrium zone of the Parker Dining assembly buildings, natural ventilation was pro- vided with the use of motorized win- dows, exhaust fans, and controls to manage the operation. "It's been keep- ing us on our toes, but I have always said we are not working in a box, so we need to be constantly thinking outside the box," adds Parkes. Or just thinking outside, literally. The new Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre will be enhanced by an outdoor common teaching space featuring a nat- uralized landscape, outdoor seating, fire pit and medicine garden, in a space that was once a parking and service area. John Hillier, partner with DTAH is looking forward to their installation in the spring and summer of 2016. "The northern landscape means you won't see the standard U of T plan here. You kind of go with the topography. The campus has used a precast system for retaining walls and steps throughout the campus, but we worked with a precast product that was more rock-like when designing the step terraces in the main building, so we were able to capture the spirit of it in the natural stone," says Hillier. The completion of the unique, circu- lar Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre will allow the University to expand and support this program. With 1,000 of 9,500 students at the campus identifying as indigenous, Parkes says, "We want to provide our indigenous stu- dents with a place of identity. That will be the game-changer on the campus." A LOCATION 935 Ramsey Lake Rd, Sudbury, Ontario OWNER/DEVELOPER Laurentian University ARCHITECT Diamond Schmitt Architects GENERAL CONTRACTOR Cy Rheault Construction Ltd. STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Blackwell Structural Engineers MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/ COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT Crossey Engineering Ltd. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT DTAH TOTAL SIZE 250,000 square feet (renovation) 20,000 square feet (new construction) TOTAL COST $34 million (construction) $50.9 million (total project budget) 1:39 PM

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