North York, ON, Canada
The second new building for the Lassonde School of Engineering & Faculty of Science builds upon the success of the university’s academic vision and its expanded program offerings into research and innovation, chemical and biological engineering. Similar to the adjacent Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence, this new building will embrace a student-centric environment where their spaces are the priority of the design.
As future Renaissance Engineers, students will also be encouraged to think in big systems, not silos. This will be a building for active learning, interaction and innovation. Where the “Cloud” of the Bergeron Centre became a metaphor for limitless, blue-sky thinking, the idea of the “Tree” will root the second building and support the “House” as a place from which to see our complex world from another perspective.
From a concept design perspective, the tessellated landscape that forms the base of the Bergeron Centre, also referred to as the “Rock” is extended southwards towards the new Engineering/Science Building. It steps gently downwards to adjust to the existing sloped topography overlooking Stong Pond.
This creates an opportunity to create a walk-out basement level and grade level courtyard providing access to classrooms and other active student learning spaces. Anchored upon the new “Rock”, a tree inspired structural system is visually expressed at this level and continues upwards and into the upper floor levels of the building.
The sloped columns support the floors above, yet transparency at these levels is maximized to ensure panoramic western views across the Pond. There is an abundance of glass at these levels, yet light is filtered through the use of a reticular leaf pattern etched onto the glass. These patterned glass panels form the base of the building, stretching across the façade on three elevations to link the Main Entrance, Innovation Hub, and Classroom levels.