Centennial College Ashtonbee Campus Library & Student HUB (2014)

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architects: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.
Date of Completion: 2014
OAA Awards 2017 Design Excellence Finalist 

Centennial College Ashtonbee Campus, the largest transportation technology school in Canada, required an expansion to accommodate their growing student population. The Library and Student HUB is the centre of the Campus renewal project, providing new identity and vitality to the 1970’s site.  The 31,000 sf new Library and Student HUB presents a transparent and open identity to the outside world, bringing students, staff, and community together. The renewal also includes campus planning, landscape implementation, student wellness and recreation centre expansion, and extensive interior renovations of staff and teaching spaces. It is the new face and arrival gateway of the campus.

Site Plan/ Diagram Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.

The building is located north of the Eglinton East commercial strip in Toronto. This setback location offered little insight to the transportation technology environments within. The project required the development of a signaled intersection to align with the neighbouring retail complex, allowing a connection to Eglinton Avenue. The building and new pedestrian promenade was the first step in developing a campus plan, forming an animated arrival gateway over a pedestrian / vehicular court developed around a ‘complete streets’ methodology. Connecting to the existing building at the second level, the student commons space allows for future connection to the Automotive Building.

Campus Gateway and Sectional Perspective/ Photo Credit: Shai Gil, Diagram Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.

Four trusses bridge the roadway and express the industrial mandate on campus. A material palette of stainless steel and fritted glass create a system of solid and void allowing for daylight and unique views to the community. This kaleidoscopic campus gateway engages the pedestrian and vehicular traffic in a kinetic experience. 

Material Palette: Fritted Glass and Stainless Steel./ Photo Credit: Shai Gil, Diagram Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.

The program is planned around a central suspended courtyard spanning from ground to second floor. The arrival and circulation spirals around this light filled void from public to private. Varied learning spaces along this journey allow for interaction of students and staff in social, group, peer-to-peer, and tutored environments.

View into the library/ Photo Credit: Shai Gil

Since opening, the building has been lauded by students and staff for its high quality of light, space, and diversity of learning spaces. The library utilization increased by 200%. It is expected that this new environment will increase the attraction and retention of students, staff, and industry partners
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