Lethbridge College’s Trades Technologies Renewal and Innovation Project (TTRIP), designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in partnership with Sahuri + Partners, received top honours at the Prairie Wood Design Awards in the institutional building category.
TTRIP adds 170,000 square feet of program space and features both structural and design elements constructed in timber. The expansion organizes new workshops, labs, offices and classrooms around a north-south central spine and adjacent learning commons.
“The extensive use of wood supports the goal to create a cohesive and legible plan that identifies the different program areas,” said Michael Leckman, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “Wood also enhances the ambiance of the new public areas where informal study and gathering space encourage student encounters and the opportunity to continue learning outside the classroom or workshop setting.”
Some wood elements of the facility include the wood-lined atrium and central spine ceiling, custom-designed doors and 22 structural columns.
“In addition to its environmental properties, the wood also adds a design element,” added Francis Rankin, Lethbridge College project manager. “It gives a softer and more inviting feel for the students.”
The use of wood as a design element supports Lethbridge College’s focus on sustainability by making the facility both a showpiece and learning tool for energy efficiency. It also features a variety of passive and active sustainable design features, including net zero utility cost to operate the expanded area at no more than the smaller facility it replaced. The building optimizes daylight access, building envelope performance and mechanical-electrical system integration and is targeting LEED Gold certification.
TTRIP’s undulating roofline is a defining feature of the building and was designed to reference the region’s gentle hills and valleys. The facility’s main entrance features two slender wood columns supporting an overhang to create a sheltered area and signal the procession of paired wood columns along the central spine of the building.