Diamond and Schmitt Architects design Algonquin College Centre for Construction Excellence

The looming shortage of skilled trades workers across Canada served as the catalyst for the planned Centre for Construction Excellence at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. Diamond and Schmitt Architects in collaboration with Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects have designed a 180,000-square-foot building that will consolidate all of Algonquin College’s trades education programs under one roof. With classrooms, studios, laboratories and shops for 600 construction students and for thousands more studying in related programs, the LEED Platinum-certified building will be a teaching laboratory for best practices in sustainable construction.


The new facility will feature a stormwater recovery system that will capture rainwater to flush toilets; solar panels that will provide some power and hot water; and a five-storey living “Biowall” covered with plants that will clean the air and help control humidity. The design will have a significantly upgraded building envelope that will include R30 insulated walls, triple-glazed windows and an R50 insulated roof. This upgraded building insulation will considerably exceed building code requirements and conserve energy by reducing heating and air conditioning needs.


“On top of this super-green construction will be a roof comprised of grass-like vegetation and knee-high plants that will look like a green meadow once construction is completed,” says Michael Leckman, Principal, Diamond and Schmitt Architects. As well, several hundred trees in 20 varieties (mostly native) and over 20 varieties of groundcover will be planted, thereby increasing biodiversity of the area by 300 percent.


The groundbreaking for the $77-million Centre for Construction Excellence took place on October 16, 2009, and the projected completion date is fall 2011.


Located in Ottawa, Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is the largest college in Eastern Ontario. With 18,000 full-time students and more than 33,000 part-time students registered in over 140 programs, Algonquin is a leader in the integration of technology into learning.