Photo: CANA Management

Top Projects 2015: Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

Institutional—Under $50 Million (TIE)


Located on the University of Calgary campus, the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning stands on the foundation of the original Nickle Arts Museum, which was demolished to make way for the new building. But while its structure may be firmly rooted in the past, the building has been designed with an eye to the future—fitting for an institute dedicated to exploring new approaches to education.

The 40,000-square-foot facility contains the College of Discovery, Creativity and Innovation, where students from different faculties come together to tackle a range of social issues. The building also houses an educational development unit for faculty and a group dedicated to researching teaching methods.

As the needs of users evolve, so too will the building change. Operable wall systems allow spaces to be reconfigured, and over 100 in-slab boxes for audio-visual, power and communications technologies have been installed to allow flexibility with future systems.

Everything will be connected through the large glass atrium that forms the core of the structure. High ceilings and the use of glass dividing walls further contribute to the bright, open feeling of the building’s interior, while acoustic millwork has been used to help mitigate noise in these spaces. Scattered throughout are suspended pods made of wood and glass that serve as meeting spaces.

The atrium features a number of complex elements—such as an exposed Vierendeel truss system and 30-foot tall glass walls—and building information modelling (BIM) was vital to tracking potential clashes between the architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing components. BIM also helped manage some of the constructability challenges with the 220-by-27-foot trusses, which had to be fully welded together as opposed to simply bolted. Ultimately, they were shipped in sections, welded on site and then installed by crane in large sections.

CANA Construction took part in constructability reviews early on in the process that led to project enhancements and cost savings further down the line. In particular, value engineering assessments played a large part in the development of the Taylor Institute’s structure. The project had been designed originally to consist solely of steel, but early assessments discovered that glue laminated timber—one of the key features of the building’s distinctive look—could be incorporated without increasing the cost.

While targeting LEED Gold certification, the building’s many efficiency touches are expected to exceed the minimum required energy performance. Air levels are adjusted based on usage through an ultra-efficient mechanical system, while occupancy sensors control the heating and cooling. Nearly 90 per cent of the construction waste—including concrete, metal, wood, cardboard and drywall—was diverted from landfills. Additionally, 90 per cent of the demolition waste from the Nickle Arts Museum was also recycled.

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