Centennial College’s Ashtonbee Campus, the largest transportation technology school in Canada, required a campus renewal to accommodate their growing student population and bring new identity and vitality to its 1970’s site. At the heart of the renewal is the 31,000 sf Library and Student Hub, acting as the new arrival face of the revitalized campus – presenting a transparent and open identity to the outside world bringing students, staff, and community together.
The design concept for the new Library and Student HUB acts as a figurative and literal ‘Bridge’. Spanning the roadway as the new campus gateway, stainless steel and fritted glass create a legible system of solid and void allowing for daylight and unique views to the community. The program is planned around a central suspended courtyard spanning from ground to second floor. The arrival and circulation spirals around this light filled void from public to private – noisy to quiet.
Bright coloured bleacher seating accommodates the seasonal rush of enrollment, general study space, and after hours event space. Multiple and varied learning spaces along this journey allow for interaction of students and staff in social, group, peer-to-peer, and tutored environments. The material palette, assemblies, details, and custom furniture, are all expressive of the automotive culture on campus; instilling a sense of identity and history within the student community. The selection of stainless steel is inspired by the sensuous chrome engines being fashioned on site.
The stainless steel panels provide a mirrored effect; picking up the movement of people and cars as fragmented ephemeral patterns of color and light and creating a bold and memorable arrival onto campus. Perforated steel grilles were used at balustrade guards, similar to that of automotive grille patterns and a ceramic frit pattern on glazing offers modulated light and views; expressing the windshield dot sun shade patterns. Rubber floor material was used to clad painted steel formed benches in the student hub and forum, and wrap workstation surfaces and social pods.
Results & Benefits Achieved:
The project develops a clear campus identity, creates an internal pedestrian street, and provides a new student centric face on the campus. The planning allows for connections to future buildings and to the adjacent campus buildings. Internally, the spaces are open and transparent with ample natural light. The project provides formal academic learning functions and informal student interaction including open access labs, casual seating and multi-use touch-down spaces. This strategy underscores Centennial’s desire to provide its student population with adaptable, modern academic spaces.
Since opening, the building has been lauded by students and staff for its high-quality of light, space, and diversity of learning spaces. Usership of the library has increased by 150% and the regeneration of the Ashtonbee Campus is established. It is expected this new environment will increase the attraction and retention of high-caliber students, staff, and industry partners.
Ted Watson, Robert Allen, Viktors Jaunkalns, David Miller, Andrew Filarski, Chris Burbidge, Leland Dadson, Tarisha Dolyniuk, Kyung Sun Hur, Cathy McMahon, Afsaneh Tafazolli, Kai Hotson, Andrew Ng, Nicole Tomasi
List of Main Suppliers:
Flynn, Advantage Fitness, Gym-Con, Johnsonite, Forum Athletic, Speith Andersen, Merchants School Sports, Kenmore