Comprehensive Building Project

From January to April 2007, I completed the final core studio in the Master of Architecture program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design . The studio was entitled Comprehensive Building Project. My Instructors were Barry Sampson, David Carter, David Lieberman and Betsy Williamson. In collaboration with Luke Stern, I designed a school and community centre located in the West Donlands development in Toronto. At the conclusion of the studio, we submitted a competition entry to Concrete Thinking for a Sustainable World, consisting of an essay and the panels shown below.

An excerpt from the competition essay best describes our architectural intentions:

Sustainable design continues to achieve milestones in building performance, but its architectonic possibilities remain under-realized. The West Donlands School and Community Centre proposes the use of re-deployable high-precision formwork assemblies, and their incorporation into the final design solution. From this point of departure, the design proceeds to integrate a full suite of passive environmental technologies, simultaneously paying close attention to the creation of a dynamic educational space by taking full advantage of the plastic potential of cast-in-place concrete. Its architectonic language derived directly from sustainable innovation, The West Donlands School and Community Centre generates a conceptual dialogue between formal expressivity and the sustainable agenda.

A selection from our final review panels is shown below.

Our design process made significant use of exploratory models at several scales, including: a 1:200 scale model of the building and site, fabricated from 3D printed plaster, laser-cut basswood and acrylic, and CNC milled MDF; a two-metre long, 300 kilogram, 1:20 scale sectional model of the building, fabricated from concrete cast in milled styrene formwork; and a full-scale concrete table cast in re-deployable baltic birch formwork.

We prepared supporting documents outlining our acoustical, structural and life-safety design strategies, as well as a 1:10 scale sectional drawing detailing the building envelope, a portion of which is shown below.