University of Ottawa School of Information Technology & Engineering (SITE)

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The Challenge

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SITE is a 16,380 m2 ‘green’ facility utilizing state-of-the-art building technology, with active solar thermal mass heating/cooling. Based upon sustainable design principles, this world leading structure integrates structural, mechanical and electrical systems to facilitate plug-in capabilities, and act together to form active mass thermal storage in the precast hollow core floor system. Since mechanical distribution is through the floor structure, a large amount of area is left available for separate electrical and data raceways to feed the thousand plus computer terminals. The building is designed on a 4-foot module to allow increased flexibility with modular partitions and fixtures to be disassembled and moved as necessary.

Concrete Products Used for this Project

  • Precast hollow core floor system
  • Cast-in-place exposed structural ‘walls’
  • Nine 14.5 m cast-in-place tapered columns that line the glazed western elevation.
  • Architectural precast concrete exterior wall panels.

The Reasons Concrete Was Selected for this Project

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Concrete was used extensively on this project as it met the aesthetic, economic and construction
challenges.

  • The architectural element of the materials was used to compliment the design.
  • The precast hollow core floor is innovatively used as part of the mechanical system, acting as an air distribution network and thereby saving on unnecessary ductwork.
  • The cast-in-place concrete topping along the edge of the glazed west elevation contains water pipework that radiates heat to the ‘galleria’ space. Surplus heat from this is retained by the concrete’s thermal mass.
  • For aesthetics, exposed aggregate precast concrete exterior walls were selected.

How Concrete Contributed to Achieve Sustainable Design and Construction Objectives

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Photos: Compliments of IKOY Architects

SITE has become the gateway to Ottawa’s downtown core. With three distinct faces, the facility clearly demonstrates that high tech state-of-the-art design and sustainability can be combined into a building of architectural delight. The project combines function and quality in a facility designed to elevate the human spirit. It was constructed within budget while exceeding stringent ‘green’ building requirements. In fact, SITE received the highest score for the Commercial Building Incentive Program (CBIP) in Canada.

This university project is designed to collect natural light, distribute it into the facility’s core, transfer heat gains to areas of need and maximize natural cooling – all to achieve the lowest energy use. The University of Ottawa has not been subject to capital cost premiums, operating at only 14.5kW/ft2 per year. The university will reduce its annual energy cost to $375,000 in a 16,380 m2 facility with 80% of its exterior glazed.

Project Team
Owner University of Ottawa
Architect IKOY Architects, Chief Architect, Ron Keenberg
Structural Consultant Sauvé Boucher Associates Inc.
Construction Manager Daoust Construction Canada Ltd.
Concrete Supplier Lafarge Canada Inc.
Mechanical Engineer Stantec Engineering
Structural Precast Concete Granite Prestressed Concrete Ltd.
Architectural Precast Saramac Inc.

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