Winnipeg’s Red River College Approaching Completion of Skilled Trades and Technology Centre Smart Factory Expansion

Red River College’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (RRC STTC) is approaching completion of the Smart Factory, an expansion that serves as a prototype for manufacturing spaces of the future.

The design of the STTC came out of a five-year collaborative process between Winnipeg’s Number TEN Architectural Group, pico ARCHITECTURE inc. and the RRC’s large stakeholder group.

Rendering courtesy Number TEN Architectural Group

Members of the college’s administration, instructional staff and students took part in four full-day integrated design process charrettes.

For high-demand trades that are important to Manitoba’s expanding and diversifying economy, the 104,000 sq. ft. development accommodates training of over 1,000 students per year.

The learning spaces are arrayed along a sky-lit Galleria-inspired spine that’s nearly as long as two-football fields, according to the developers.

With an objective of transparency, collaboration, and knowledge sharing, the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows open onto workshops organized by trade discipline.

As an acknowledgment of the tools used every day by the graduates of the program, pliers, screwdrivers, and other implements were embedded in the concrete flooring.

To connect the most current techniques with traditional crafts, designers drew on aboriginal themes for the spatial structure and building envelope. The pattern of longboard, aluminum composite panels, and solar shading on the building’s façades was designed to evoke patterns in birchbark, as well as an array of trees.

Photo by Douglas Little Photography

The design serves as a teaching tool and celebrates the skilled trades and technologies through transparent and carefully integrated building components.

There are sensors in the roof, walls, ceilings and windows that provide real-time data for students studying how the building interacts with the external environment.

The building applies principles of sustainable urbanism by using steam, geothermal, gas, electric, hydronic, passive, and active chilled beams.

The site features include two public plazas, reduced parking areas, expanded transit and carpool loading zones, and outdoor decks that act as informal student lounges. By adding cross-campus pedestrian routes to nearby transit and active transportation nodes, the building layout promotes connectivity, active living, multi-modal transportation, and social interaction.

Sustainable landscaping and low-impact development principles were considerably thought into the development. In collaboration with the college’s greenspace management program, who will be using the site as an outdoor laboratory, the space has an intensive modular green roof that can be repaired or replaced over time; a fully integrated, plant-based, rain-garden stormwater filtration system; a food forest; a xeriscape test garden; and a pilot program of mixed grassland naturalization zones.

The 6,000 sq. ft. Smart Factory is a program that builds on the college’s training and applied research programs in aerospace and manufacturing.

This new structure provides a site where emerging technologies and manufacturing processes can be tested and demonstrated.

The list of fields and technologies involve high-speed robotic inspection, industrial networking, collaborative robotics, robotic autonomous platforms and end-of-arm tools, flexible robotic work cells, additive laser metal deposition systems with 5-axis milling capability, robotic 3d metrology, industrial networking, data acquisition and
control systems.

Photo courtesy Number TEN Architectural Group