Diamond Schmitt Architects Architects & Edward J. Cuhaci And Associates Architects Inc., together on the green

The Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence (ACCE) at Algonquin College in Ottawa has won the Academic Leadership Award for green building innovation. The award was presented at the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) National Conference in Toronto.

The landmark building opened in 2011 and consolidates under one sizable green roof the College’s building design and construction technology programs. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc., in joint venture, ACCE is a showcase of sustainable design where real-time monitoring of the building’s operations is part of the curriculum for students and on display for the public. 

“Algonquin College developed a vision for the creation of an integrated learning and applied research environment, which resulted in the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence, a 190,000 sq ft uniquely green and architecturally iconic learning centre.” says Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council.

“The many sustainable design features of this building – from the high-performance envelope to the green roofs and living wall – serve as visible expression of the building’s identity as an energy efficient structure,” says Donald Schmitt, principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects. 

The Centre features a lively interplay of landscape elements – different ecosystems expressed along a vegetative “ribbon” of park, garden spaces, an undulating green roof and the bio-filter wall. Together, these form a single system of connected outdoor and indoor spaces. “These elements are designed to enrich the student experience, enhance bio-diversity, reduce storm water run-off, lower energy consumption and filter the indoor air,” adds Schmitt.
Against this verdant setting, the school functions as a living laboratory that reveals through wall cutaways, glass floors and exhibits, the building’s energy, plumbing and electrical systems and the construction materials and techniques. Built-in sensors located throughout the building provide real-time and historical building diagnostics via on-site LCD screens and a unique website, allowing students to monitor the building’s temperature, humidity, air quality, structural load, and other dynamic features of its day-to-day operation. 
In May, the ACCE facility won a SCUP/AIA-CAE Award for Excellence in Architecture, presented by the Society for College and University Planning / American Institute of Architects – Committee on Architecture for Education.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is a leader in sustainable design solutions. ACCE is one of three recently opened LEED Platinum-candidate facilities designed by the firm. The others are The Centre for Green Cities at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto and the CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory in Hamilton, Ontario. 

Edward J. Cuhaci And Associates Architects Inc. (www.cuhaci.com) has implemented sustainable design concepts for over twenty years.  Projects designed by principals of the Firm are LEED registered or certified including the Algonquin ACCE Building, which is certified LEED Platinum and the Canada Council for the Arts offices in Ottawa, which is targeting LEED CI Silver.