Toronto is home to one of the largest training schools for transportation technology in Canada—Centennial College Ashtonbee Campus. It is only fitting, considering its technology-driven nature, that the institution was recently renovated with expanded facilities clad in metal wall panels from Dri-Design. According to MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Toronto, the selection of stainless-steel panels was inspired by the sensuous chrome engines being operated on by students. Dri-Design was installed on a new Library & Learning Centre and Student Hub with adjoining Student Centre and Bookstore.
The renovations and expansion were designed to bring a renewed vitality to campus. “The college has developed exceedingly successful transportation partnerships and training programs. The campus, however, was in need of reinvestment to address safety, identity, accessibility and infrastructure issues to meet the needs of current students,” says Ted Watson, project design principal and partner of MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects. “The client’s primary goal was to rejuvenate the campus and deliver student-oriented services to support and evolve thriving academic programming.”
The project required 26,000 square feet of stainless-steel Tapered Series and standard Dri-Design Wall Panels, which were installed by Semple Gooder Roofing Corp., Toronto. According to the architect, who has used Dri-Design in the past, the products were selected because they are highly flexible, precise and elegant.
For the installation, sub girts were installed over Blueskin vapor barrier on DensDeck. Stainless-steel flashings and Roxul insulation were laid in place before the Dri-Design panels were secured to the sub girts. Peter Sjouwerman, manager of the metal cladding division with Semple Gooder, says, “There is consistency in the Dri-Design panel dimensions, and they fit together well and are easily assembled.”
The Tapered panels have a 2-inch depth variation at either side. Combined with the flat panel profile, these variations create five different panel sizes that when laid out further reveal a shifting pattern and a playful reflection of light. The wall panels are brushed stainless steel, while the library soffit is polished stainless steel, creating what is called a Kaleidoscopic Campus Gateway. “This mirrored effect picks up the movement of people and cars as fragmented ephemeral patterns of color and light,” Watson says. “This creates a bold and memorable arrival onto campus.”
The library and hub are highly transparent with panoramic views in and out. The library visually and literally connects the new campus with the old, serving as a bridge to the original front entrance of the 1940s Ashtonbee Building housing a renovated bookstore, a student centre and classrooms. Enrollment, student life services and continuing-education services are accessed through the hub’s lobby. The Student Centre/Bookstore is located at grade across from the hub, conceptually connecting the two service spaces. The two-story library is composed of general student library space, commuter labs, a learning center and center for academic English.
“This school is an impressive use of our panels and illustrates how metal can bring a building’s purpose to life,” says Brad Zeeff, president of Dri-Design. “This was a fast-track project and everyone involved should be impressed with the craftsmanship and artful design that is both inviting and inspiring.”