By Lethbridge Herald on December 3, 2020.
The University of Lethbridge Science Commons, designed by Canadian firms KPMB Architects and Stantec Architecture, recently received a prestigious Gold Medal from the World Architecture (WAN) Awards (Education Category).
Completed in 2019, the 36,000-square-metre Science Commons has been heralded as an exemplar for climate-responsive research buildings, it was noted in a CAMRON news release. The building’s glass design was applauded by the WAN jury not just for its aesthetics, but also its highly flexible, energy-efficient functionality.
With expected energy reductions of 51 per cent, the building’s architecture realizes the vision to create the most advanced science building in Canada.
KPMB said in a website posting the Isttaniokaksini/Science Commons is a critical component of a larger vision to diversify Alberta’s economy into the knowledge and innovation industries.
“Located on the Lethbridge University Campus in the majestic coulee landscape and next door to Arthur Erickson’s iconic University Hall (1971), the project is purpose-built for transdisciplinary research and teaching. A tailor-made integrated design process was fundamental to promoting active discourse between researchers, instructors, users and the design team to define the qualities that should drive the creation of a transdisciplinary environment unique to the university.”
Lethbridge is one of the sunniest and driest places in Canada. By capitalizing on passive energy from this unique climate, the project will outperform the 50 per cent baseline typology of conventional lab buildings, with a projected 78 per cent energy use reduction for the support spaces and 60 per cent for laboratory spaces, KPMB added.