Award of Merit: New Academic Science Complex, Trent University

Peterborough, Ontario
Teeple Architects in association with Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners

These new teaching and research labs, arrayed around a central meeting space, are a response to Trent University’s recently developed Master Plan. The one-storey tectonic landscape preserves views from nearby Otonabee College to the Otonabee River, with a living roof that extends the grassy landscape of the embankment toward the river. Courts are “eroded” from this landscape to form both semi-private spaces that are tucked into the hill and a major new student quadrangle that overlooks the river.

The architectural promenade brings students in contact with the body of water and weaves together the upper podium level with the research floor. Intertwined walkways link both levels of the existing science complex and the environmental science building with the academic science centre to encompass a new triangular court.

An internalized circulation system is created with research laboratories radiating off the central meeting space, facilitating access to offices and labs exclusive of public thoroughfare usage.

A low-flow fume hood technology has been used which reduces the energy required to exhaust air from the labs. It has been combined with variable speed drives coupled to a state of the art control system. This ensures that only the fume hoods that are actually in operation are using energy. Heat recovery reclaims heat from exhaust air, to be used to temper the indoor environment, while attention to design and building envelope, along with glazing, ensure that heat gain and heat loss are minimized. Rainscreen zinc walls and heat-absorbent, double glazing create a highly efficient cladding system. Living roofs replace the greenspace of the site on the roof, while stormwater is retained in a storm retention pond where it is cleaned before being sent into the river. Energy efficiency is further realized because the building’s embedded state into the site minimizes its exposed surface area.

Boutin: I was impressed by the way the architects conceptually framed this project, identifying a number of themes that appropriately addressed the aspirations of the campus and those of the building users. Ideas like an “eroded landscape” and “landscape of light” positions the work well as a public architecture and an architecture that lent dignity to its users. But the difficult balance of “…simultaneously embody[ing] two apparently opposing themes of modernist design…” is evidenced in the design development drawings, particularly in the transition between building as public landscape and building as private laboratory.

Rosenberg: I really appreciate the level of integration of the building into the landscape. At first glance the outdoor terrace seems a little awkward but if it is refined with the same energy as the building I am certain its potential will be realized.

Sherman: What is interesting about this project is how it fits itself into a site that appears already too cramped. It responds by depressing itself into the ground–and yet at the same time manages to engage and give form to a heretofore informal campus pedestrian circulation “network.” Rather than posing as an object building, it acts as an infrastructural element linking other destinations, and in the process exposing those walking through it to the work being done in the labs along the way.

Client: Trent University

Architect team: Stephen Teeple, Chris Radigan, Matthew Smith, Myles Craig, Mark Baechler, Dean Lavigne, Anya Moryoussef, Stephen Irwin, Steven Ploeger, Jan Willem Gritters, Terry Leventos, Bob Ashby

Structural: Yolles Partnership Inc.

Mechanical: Smith & Andersen Consulting Engineering

Electrical: Crossey Engineering

Interiors: Teeple Architects in association with Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners

Area: 38,750 sq. ft.

Budget: $14.1 million

Completion: January 2004