centennial expansion

Zero-carbon, mass timber college building revealed

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Centennial College’s $105-million expansion to the Progress Campus A Block building will be first zero-carbon, mass timber higher-education building in Canada when it completes in 2023.

Forming a new gateway structure at Centennial’s Progress Campus in Toronto, the project will be delivered by the design-build team of Dialog, Smoke Architecture and EllisDon.

The six-storey addition will provide 150,000 gross square feet of space, which includes renovations to the existing A-Block building.

The design firms, Dialog and Smoke Architecture, approached the project using a uniquely Canadian concept of “two-eyed seeing” or viewing the world through the lens of Indigenous knowledge and the lens of western knowledge. The resulting design brings together Indigenous and Western cultures in both the form and function.

“This project grows beyond the simplistic application of Indigenous elements onto a mainstream design,” said Eladia Smoke, principal of Smoke Architecture. “This design is rooted in Indigenous principles, evoked in a contemporary setting. The building’s narrative is a story of seed, growth, culmination, and balance, revealing the seven directions teachings in a cyclical view of an interconnected world.”

The A Block expansion will create an array of new academic spaces with flexible classrooms that support active learning and Indigenous ways of teaching and being. There are new labs for the School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science (SETAS) program and numerous informal spaces for collaboration and socialization.

“This project will be a clear demonstration of how higher-education facilities can make an important contribution to reducing environmental harm by eliminating CO2 emissions,” said Craig Applegath, project principal, Dialog. “Its zero-carbon emissions design, and its ability to store thousands of tonnes of carbon in its sustainably harvested mass timber wood structure, will be an important precedent in both Canada and around the world.”

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