McMaster University Arthur Bourns Building  Addition, Renovation and Deferred Maintenance 
       
     
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 McMaster University Arthur Bourns Building  Addition, Renovation and Deferred Maintenance 
       
     
McMaster University Arthur Bourns Building  Addition, Renovation and Deferred Maintenance 

Hamilton, ON, Canada
 

This new five-storey addition to and renovation of a 1960’s lab intensive building will provide a flagship tower for the Engineering Faculty and a wet lab revitalization for the Chemistry Department in the Science Faculty at one of Canada’s leading research Universities. 

The “flagship” tower will showcase Innovation Design Studios on the ground level, research spaces and labs on levels 2-4, and shelled space for future lab/conference area expansion on level 5.  This wet lab intensive building will also contain bio-safety Level 2 Labs, along with biochemical engineering labs, computer labs convertible to Wet Labs and Energy Labs, including a Hydrogen research lab. 

The interior demolition and renovation of the five-level Arthur Bourns Building are a complex decanting and adaptive design undertaking.  The ground level features a joint engineering and science Biomarker Innovation Lab for graduate students and industry partners. 

The upper floors are dedicated to research wet labs and bio-safety Level 2 labs, with the heaviest concentration occurring on level 4.  The renovated basement contains relocated nuclear magnetic (NMR) resonance labs, along with a mass spectrometry suite and photonics lab with highly sensitive research equipment including lasers and optical equipment.

This LEED Silver targeted project was developed under an extremely fast track schedule dictated by the federal Strategic Infrastructure Fund. Furthermore, our role included the detailed functional programming before design work could commence. This was further complicated by the requirement to create a complex decanting strategy that would inform the concept design. 

With a modest budget and an immovable completion date, ZAS created a design that fosters opportunities for integrated, multi-disciplinary and team-based approaches to learning. The result is flexible, modular and adaptable laboratory spaces, where research for the various science disciplines housed occur in open, safe, modular and transparency enhanced spaces. 

Both the tower and renovated area design encourages collaboration between disciplines, establishes clear connections between research groups, and problem-solving based learning.  When complete, these facilities will serve a critical function in McMaster University’s long-standing tradition of innovation and research.

The new tower location is positioned within an existing courtyard and added to one end of the Arthur Bourns Building on a highly constrained and operational site.  This included building over an active utility tunnel as well as a separate pedestrian tunnel.  This would then ensure that fire and life safety systems would remain operational at all times during construction. 

In order to meet the fast-track schedule, a Construction Manager was engaged early in the design process to advise on cost estimation and construction logistics.  Sequential sub-trade bidding packages were prepared early, enabling decanting, demolition and site preparation to start before the final design was completed. 

Complimenting this was a series of sequential building permits to allow this work to proceed.  This included complicated “Alternative Solutions”, for the new model of open labs used in the design, to enable the design to meet the Building Code. 

A complex Building Control System for on-demand ventilation control in the labs was a key feature in allowing the open lab strategy to be approved by the Building Department.

Client

McMaster University

Size

Renovation – 32,000 s.f.

New Addition – 45,500 s.f.

 

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