Carleton University Health Science Building / Montgomery Sisam Architects

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  • Architects: Montgomery Sisam Architects
  • Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Lead Architects: Montgomery Sisam Architects in association with NXL Architects (Laboratory Design)
  • Area: 120000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2018
  • Photographs: Shai Gil
  • Local Architect: Bryden Martel Architects Inc.
  • Structural Engineers: Halsall Associates
  • Mechanical & Electrical Engineers: Chorley + Bisset Ltd.
  • Civil Engineers: WSP Canada
  • Landscape: WSP Canada
  • Contractor: R.E. Hein Construction Ontario
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Text description provided by the architects. The new Health Science Building transcends conventional practices for developing academic space and encourages students and teachers to move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. The design proposal is one that embraces the opportunity to co-locate health sciences and neuroscience students in spaces that accommodate practical and theoretical learning so as to encourage a cross-pollination of ideas.

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Students and faculty gain access to the building’s most public functions on the ground floor including a 350-seat lecture theatre and casual student spaces that double as informal study areas. Upper floors are designed to accommodate program-specific requirements for research and teaching. Most notably, the design locates the mechanical and electrical services, not in a typical penthouse but in a multi-level bay vertically stacked along the west face of the building so as to service program spaces through horizontal distribution.

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This allows laboratories to be free of vertical service chases and functions to be organized in unobstructed north-south ‘bands.’ More specifically, energy-intensive lab support spaces are positioned closest the utilities located along the west wall while long, open lab benches occupy the middle of the floor plate and offices and collaborative areas line the perimeter. This unique configuration - derived in large part from a desire to optimize the location between engineering systems and program spaces and, in so doing, maximize floor flexibility, adaptability, and visual transparency - works effectively to stimulate a holistic, collaborative and collective approach to learning.

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As a whole, the building massing reflects the orthogonal geometry that dominates West Campus while its compact footprint responds to context and site in a number of unique ways. A large porch wraps around the ground floor and opens out towards Campus Avenue to the east, the future entry quad to the north, and the River Building to the south. A glazed link connects Steacie building to the west. Together, these features weave the building into the larger campus fabric and ultimately promote Carleton’s mandate to maintain a pedestrian-centric environment, offering new opportunities to unify the grounds, stimulate social interaction, provide comfort and security and establish building interdependence.

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 Carleton University is strongly invested in being both a designer and custodian of the future and in acting as steward of a healthier more sustainable academic community. The design is therefore deeply invested not only in providing a building that enhances the campus but one cognizant and mindful of its impact on the environment. The building is targeting 5 Green Globes.

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