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McEwen School of Architecture/ École d’architecture McEwen

09 Mar 2018
Image Credit: Bob Gundu
Architectural Credit: LGA Architectural Partners Ltd.
Location: Greater Sudbury, ON
Architects: LGA Architectural Partners Ltd.
Date of Completion: 2017

OAA Design Excellence Awards Finalist

The McEwen School of Architecture, Laurentian University is Canada’s first new architecture school in 40 years. Its mandate is to focus its education uniquely to Indigenous, Anglophone and Francophone students. The architects chose to design the school as a didactic instrument, with exposed structure in each of its varied parts. It comprises two heritage buildings: a new 36,480-square-foot steel and concrete studio wing and a new 15,670-square-foot cross-laminated timber (CLT) library wing.

Program spaces
Drawing Credit: LGA Architectural Partners Ltd.

The school’s location is in Sudbury’s downtown core, signifying Laurentian University’s move to create a downtown campus apart from its main location on the city outskirts. The school functions as an urban regeneration catalyst and as an educational hub and think tank for the region. Passersby can peer into the school’s sunken Crit Pit—a space for student reviews, performances, lectures and local events. 

Sunken Crit Pit
Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

Studio spaces
Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

McEwen’s Library Wing is a CLT demonstration project funded by the Centre for Research & Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE). CLT is a sustainable engineered wood product that could be manufactured in many parts of northern Canada.

CLT constructed hallway
Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

Library space
Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

The new library and studio wings connect with two adaptive-reuse buildings to shelter an outdoor courtyard/workshop and ceremonial fire pit. Infrastructure is exposed and labelled, turning the entire school into a teaching tool for its students. This also facilitates the swapping of building system technologies with more efficient products when available. 

Studio spaces
Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

The architecture team developed its own “Sustainable Design Manifesto” to address Sudbury’s context. Energy models indicate McEwen will require 44 per cent less energy than the code standard minimum.

Photo Credit: Bob Gundu

The Laurentian University McEwen School of Architecture’s curriculum addresses resilient architecture and fabrication techniques for northern latitudes, with an emphasis on Indigenous culture, wood construction, local ecologies and resources, as well as design for the impact of climate change. 


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