April 6, 2018
by Canadian Architect
Architecture firm Perkins+Will has announced a new collaboration with York University to design the School of Continuing Studies building at the Keele campus. Perkins+Will was selected as the winner by the University through a rigorous competition process which took a roster of international design firms down to a shortlist of seven, followed by a competition stage for three finalists.The design offers advanced sustainable design strategies and iconic architecture that will serve as a campus gateway.Targeting a minimum certification of LEED Gold, the design explores the potential for net-zero energy and net-zero carbon. Strategies include a building envelope that meets Passive House standards, heat recovery ventilation, and integrated photovoltaics to generate electricity on site. With a goal of reducing embodied carbon and improving occupant health, York University and Perkins+Will will also explore the possibilities of mass timber as a key structural element of the new school.
The building structure twists as it rises, creating a landmark gesture at the Campus’s South East entrance. Its high performance, gently curving, prismatic façade features integrated photovoltaic panels. A generous landscaped plaza and passenger drop-off zone allow for public space and movement. The dramatic form is a calculated response to the campus public realm, patterns of student movement, and the optimization of solar orientation. The design balances the needs of the school itself, the larger campus, and the planet, setting a new standard for sustainability, design excellence, and student experience on Canadian campuses.
A primary objective for York University and the Perkins+Will team was the creation of a sense of home and belonging for the School of Continuing Studies. The design places a special emphasis on the creation of warm and inviting spaces that inspire student communities to form. Abundant daylight, transparency, and interconnected spaces between floors encourage students to interact and allow the building to function as a home for events and celebrations that support the School’s evolving culture and community.
“This new building will enable us to create even more lifelong learning opportunities, build connections with local and international communities, and help students of all ages and backgrounds to achieve their fullest potential,” says York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. The School of Continuing Studies was established three years ago to combine continuing professional education programs with English language support. Today, it is one of the largest schools of its kind in Canada.
“This building is critical to expand the pathways that support international students and new Canadians, as well as innovative continuing education to support young professionals in meeting the demands of tomorrow’s workplaces,” says York University Assistant Vice-President Tracey Taylor-O’Reilly.