(image courtesy of B+H + mcCallumSather)
Solar panel “wings” will power Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation at Mohawk Collage, the result of a progressive net-zero design by mcCallumSather and B+H Architects
June 28, 2017 (Hamilton, ON) — The new Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation at Mohawk College’s Fennel Campus in Hamilton, Ontario, will be one of the region’s first net-zero energy institutional buildings when it opens its doors to students in the fall of 2018. New students will be greeted by 96,000 square-feet of solar-powered state-of-the-art labs, workshops, open study spaces and lecture theatre, creating a new paradigm for sustainable building and learning in North America.
Mohawk Collage Chief Building and Facilities Officer, Tony Cupido, is steering the development on behalf of the College. “We’re looking at this building as a catalyst for change. We believe employers will be looking to significantly boost their understanding of carbon-neutral technologies and operations due to provincial mandates. The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation will allow Mohawk College to become a knowledge centre for this emerging point of emphasis. We aren’t just building a centre to house new lab space, in many ways we’re building the lab itself.”
A joint venture partnership with B+H + mcCallumSather, the Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation is a national and global pilot project. The building will help determine the requirements and standards for the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Buildings Framework and contribute to the World Green Building Council’s (WGBC) “Advancing Net Zero,” a global project which aims to ensure that all buildings are net zero carbon by 2050.
To navigate the pursuit of a Net Zero energy building, B+H + mcCallumSather upended the typical design process, rooting their design in the development of an energy budget.
“It’s a progressive approach,” says Kevin Stelzer, Principal at B+H. “Where we are typically driven by a financial budget and schedule, for this to truly work we knew we had to step outside of our comfort zone and approach this challenge from a different perspective.”
The energy budget accounted for the eventual uses of the building, including lab equipment, a targeted use of mechanical systems and an allowance for unregulated loads such as laptops. With the budget in place, a clear roadmap was established to inform each component of the design, from the building’s orientation and material pallet, to the mechanical needs and photo-voltaic targets—the latter of which informs the most iconic part of the Joyce Centre’s design.
“We really wanted to elevate the concept of capturing the sun’s energy and making it a design feature as opposed to a series of panels that are going on the roof,” says Joanne McCallum, Director and Co-Founder of mcCallumSather. All photo-voltaic panels are housed in a set of wings that soar above the four-storey complex, echoing the building’s lofty ambitions.
“There is a sea change underway. We’re starting to understand that we as individuals are accountable for our energy use. This building will make you aware of the energy you are using and force you to change your habits. You will not be able to plug in your laptop for hours on end,” says McCallum. “It’s an overdue change and we think the future of how buildings will be designed and operated.”
The pursuit of the elusive net-zero energy threshold spurred innovation throughout the project, including the development of an innovative curtain wall system with an effective R20 thermal performance.
“Architects love designing with curtain wall, but the standard design can be one of the biggest impediments to sustainable performance right now,” says Stelzer explaining that the highly conductive materials used in curtain walls are like an energy sieve.
B+H + mcCallumSather were able to work with manufacturers and building scientists to develop a new curtain wall system that incorporated isolation gaskets to achieve their energy conservation targets. Function and form conspired to deliver a transparent, light-filled cladding that delivered on the ambitious energy targets.
“The interiors will be drenched in sunlight and offer flexible learning and collaborative spaces for staff and students. A large atria flows into modular classrooms organised around a central common area encouraging social learning. Robust materials are juxtaposed against warmer elements like wood, glass and stone tile to create a rich, inviting palette,” says Stelzer.
In a region known for its steel-production, the achievement of the Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation aligns with a new vision for the re-emerging city of Hamilton.
“The building is an incredibly powerful symbol for the city as it continues to evolve into a healthcare and educational hub for the region,” said McCallum. “It’s reflective of current and future trends in sustainability and pedagogy and demonstrates leadership in a meaningful way, proving the public sector can drive change.”
The building represents a significant opportunity for new students. “We are looking forward to welcoming students to Hamilton with the ambition that they can study here, stay here and become part of the vibrant city and its sustainable future. This building offers them the chance to learn about sustainable building management first hand, and in tomorrow’s economy that could be invaluable,” said Cupido.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2018, with the first intake of students expected for the Fall 2018 term. For more information and live progress updates visit: www.mohawknetzero.ca or join the conversation by tweeting at @NetZeroMohawk
About Mohawk College
Mohawk College educates and serves 30,000 students from three campuses in Hamilton, Ontario. Mohawk has been named one of Canada’s greenest employers for the past four consecutive years and ranks 15th among all colleges in Canada for applied research activity. Mohawk was the first college in Ontario to formally adopt an environmental management plan and has since introduced a second plan with even more aggressive carbon emission reduction targets. The Joyce Centre for Partnership & Innovation is part of the largest renewal of labs and classrooms in Mohawk’s 50-year history.
B+H Architects is a global, award-winning firm with a 60+ year legacy of building creative solutions for clients through the delivery of architecture, interior design, landscape, planning, Advance Strategy and other consulting services. Working from studios in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle, Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore & Ho Chi Minh City, its more than 350 team members are committed to responding to the needs of clients and shaping buildings, environments, and communities.
From renovations to new construction, small community initiatives to multi-million dollar, one-of-a-kind projects, our team at mcCallumSather remains relentlessly focused on achieving our clients’ goals guided by a commitment to design excellence and sustainable solutions. Rooted in Hamilton for 21 years, we offer architectural, mechanical engineering, interior design, heritage consulting, LEED facilitation and project management services. mcCallumSather fluidly navigates between design and engineering disciplines and are known for delivering highly coordinated documents and thoughtful, innovative facilities of the highest quality.
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