The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently selected the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Environmental Sciences and Chemistry building as the winning design of its 2018 Institutional Award in the large building category. The award for the LEED Gold facility was presented to Diamond Schmitt Architects at a ceremony in Toronto on June 4.
The five-storey building is home to laboratories and academic offices, which surround a sky-lit atrium. Its design was inspired by nature to reflect both the academic pursuits within the building, but also its location on the edge of a wooded ravine.
The institutional facility features an integrated system of sustainable design features, including an earth tube that draws fresh air underground where it is pretreated to warm up or cool down, depending on the season, before entering the mechanical system. The exterior features vertical sunshades of various depths to bring interest to the façade, and brings to mind the visual effect of a wind pattern on water or sand.
“The building is designed to be a model of new thinking in laboratory design – open, transparent, flexible and highly sustainable, not to mention providing a safe and secure work environment for students and researchers,” said Donald Schmitt, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release.
“This building has a particularly innovative approach to solar shading, creating a dynamic façade and animating interior spaces,” remarked the jury, upon presentation of the award. “This approach carries through to the other environmental systems, which are exposed to view, not simply to celebrate the technology, but to monitor performance, facilitate research and identify potential improvements.”
Some of the facility’s other sustainable features include geothermal boreholes, unique fritted glazing to minimize solar heat gain, all LED lighting fixtures and a high-performance curtainwall. The research that is conducted at ESCB focuses on important environmental issues, such as climate change, groundwater pollution in urban settings, restoration of environmental systems, and rising sea levels.