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The Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study & Research Building, Schulich School of Business

Toronto, Ont.
Architect: Baird Sampson Neuert Architects Inc.

Energy Efficiency and Carbon Stability

Architects must play a role in stabilizing the climate change crisis, lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in favour of clean power. This year, the OAA required Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) metrics as part of its awards submissions. The lower the number, the less impact the building has on our climate. To learn more, click here.

TEUI:  72.4 ekWh/m2

OAA Design Excellence Awards Winner

The Rob and Cheryl McEwen Graduate Study and Research Building for the Schulich School of Business is designed to promote progressive pedagogy and research. Its section and plan are organized around a central atrium that organizes access to a cafe, three large flat-floor classrooms, and four seminar rooms, which are clustered with associated breakout rooms to allow various teaching and peer-to-peer learning formats. On the second and third floor, reconfigurable research laboratories are clustered with offices and two conference/seminar rooms to accommodate changing research needs. Lounges and meeting and support rooms provide complementary facilities for structured work and informal congeniality.
The building is conceived as a creative terrain for the exchange of ideas; it is expressed in its three-dimensional section and architectonic form. Its materialization also melds architecture and engineering. The three-storey atrium is its performative heart—a theatrical place for spontaneous meeting and programmed events, a welcoming movement hub, and an air-distribution collector for the unique hybrid natural-and-active ventilation system. The dynamic sociability and climate-responsive design of the building manifests the commitment of the Schulich School of Business to social engagement and sustainability. Its 28-metre high solar chimney tower creates a tangible new landmark on campus.
The built form synthesizes weather-responsive design with urban design resolution of the highly constrained site. An urbane block floating above a pedestrian colonnade lines the main campus entryway. The block splits where the folded glass skin of the atrium invites interior views. Such folds are used to ‘twist’ the building from the campus street grid to reorient its south facade for optimal solar exposure, daylighting, and shade design. A curving single-storey wing of classrooms cradles a south-facing courtyard, buffering it from traffic. Stormwater is detained below permeable courtyard paving and in a cistern that irrigates green roofs.

The bioclimatic design of the hybrid passive-active environmental control system promotes well-being and sustainability. In natural ventilation mode, the solar chimney amplifies stack-driven ventilation, enabling effective natural ventilation to all spaces for up to 160 days a year. In winter preheat mode, it delivers air warmed by the sun to the air-handlers. In summer active mechanical mode, the chimney idles. The energy-efficient dedicated-outdoor-air system separates ventilation from heating and cooling, which are provided hydronically through active slabs and radiant ceiling panels. Displacement ventilation, thoughtful acoustics, and abundant daylighting contribute to a healthy, quiet interior environment, and ultra-low energy intensity.

 Photo Credit: Tom Arban
 Photo Credit: Tom Arban

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