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Project Details
Centennial College Ashtonbee Campus Renewal
Toronto, Ontario

Client : Centennial College
Area : 97,000 sf
Program : Campus Library, Student Hub, Study Spaces, Bookstore, Department Office Spaces, Classrooms, Fitness Centre, Multi-Use Studios, Gymnasium, Changerooms
Completion : August 2014
Centennial College’s Ashtonbee Campus, the largest transportation technology school in Canada, required a campus renewal to accommodate their growing student population and bring new identity and vitality to its 1970s site. At the heart of the renewal is the 31,000 sf Library and Student Centre as the new face and arrival gateway of the revitalized campus – presenting a transparent and open identity to the outside world bringing students, staff, and community together. The renewal also includes campus planning, landscape implementation, a student wellness and recreation centre expansion, and extensive interior renovations of staff and teaching spaces.

The design for the revitalized campus and new gateway building is conceived as a figurative and literal ‘Bridge’. It acts as a framework to solve the pragmatic issues and to articulate the College’s philosophical principles. The result is expressive of the unique automotive culture on campus. Four large trusses bridge the roadway, and are expressive of the industrial mandate on campus. A material palette of stainless steel and fritted glass create a legible system of solid and void allowing for daylight and unique views to the community; creating a kaleidoscopic campus gateway engaging pedestrian and vehicular traffic in a kinetic experience. The library and student hub 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 – noisy to quiet. Multiple and varied learning spaces along this journey allow for interaction of students and staff in social, group, peer to peer, and tutored environments. Outwardly the new gateway building presents an open and welcoming face declaring that the College is ‘Open for Business’.

Since opening, the new library and student hub building has been lauded by students and staff for its high quality of light, space, and diversity of learning spaces. Usership of the library has increased by 150% and the regeneration of the Ashtonbee Campus is clear. It is expected this new environment will increase the attraction and retention of high caliber students, staff, and industry partners.