St. Jerome’s University renewal by Diamond Schmitt Architects will enhance the Waterloo, Ontario, campus

A ground-breaking ceremony today marks a new chapter in the 150-year life of St. Jerome’s University at University of Waterloo. It also marks a new collaborative design process to realize a campus-expansion project.

The SJU Campus Renewal will add a seven-storey student residence and two-storey academic building. Reconfigured roads, landscaping and new parking will transform the existing campus and create a new gateway to the university.

Diamond Schmitt Architects, Graham Construction and St. Jerome’s are pursuing an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model – one of the first examples in Canada of this design and construction process where architect, contractor and client enter into an agreement to operate as a team.

“This is a trailblazing project for all of us and I commend St. Jerome’s vision to become an active participant,” says David Dow, principal, Diamond Schmitt. The IPD model emphasizes closer collaboration to optimize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.

“Through the innovative process of IPD, St. Jerome’s University is embarking on its single biggest capital investment. The newly designed spaces will fit nicely with the university’s program and help deliver on its mission of educating the whole person,” says Darren Becks, St. Jerome’s VP of Administration.

The project design blends the new with existing campus infrastructure and its emphasis on open space, courtyards and covered walkways. The desire to extend and augment the existing community has been at the heart of the project’s development.

The 2,087-square-metre academic building is organized around a central atrium. Opening off the atrium on two floors are a variety of flexible classroom configurations and a raked-seat room for 300 people. With extensive glazing at its entrance, the building provides a welcoming, student-focused point of entry that serves as a new campus gateway.

The residence building comprises 360 student beds arranged in two clusters of 30 beds on six floors with two don rooms per floor. The ground floor has physical recreation amenities as well as study, games and music rooms. The building shape creates two new courtyards similar in scale to the existing central courtyard that defines the heart of the campus.

The IPD model allows for a shortened construction schedule for the $47-million project. Completion of both buildings is slated for January 2016.


Diamond Schmitt Architects is a leading full-service architectural firm based in Toronto with an international reputation for design excellence and sustainable design solutions. An extensive portfolio includes academic buildings, libraries, performing arts centres, sports facilities, master plans, and residential and commercial buildings. Equally extensive is work completed for the healthcare sector, with life science facilities, research laboratories and hospitals.

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