Dedicated to sustainable,
high performance building

Advanced Research Complex

Sleek lab and office meets exacting performance needs

The new Advanced Research Complex [ARC] at the University of Ottawa is the hub of cutting-edge Photonics and Geo-Sciences Research in Canada. Located on a tight urban site, the building houses two separate research programs – the University of Ottawa’s Centre for Advanced Photonics and the relocation of its Geo-Science department into state-of-the-art laboratories. In addition to the laboratories, the facility includes academic and student offices together with associated administrative spaces serving personnel from both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering.

By COLE+Associates Architects Inc.

The design of the ARC focuses on simplicity, elegance and durability. Drawing its architectonic expression from the stratification of rocks, the mass of the building protrudes from the hill in a long, clean, linear fashion.
The two wings of the building meet at the southwest corner of the site where a fully glazed two-storey main lobby extends to the sidewalk with planter plinths for seating. This corner serves as the primary meeting place on all floor levels.

The lobby opens up to the main hall which houses a 3MV Accelerator Mass Spectrometer device, the showpiece of the ARC’s research program. In keeping with the design mandate to ‘put science on display’ the device is clearly visible from the street. On the upper levels, meeting rooms are strategically located to facilitate collaboration between researchers and promote interdisciplinary interactions.

Careful consideration was given to program organization, to optimize passive heating and cooling strategies, and to minimize the transmission of both internal and external noise and vibration to the sensitive lab areas. Photonics labs, where environmental control is most critical, were cut into the sloping site to assist with thermal, vibration and acoustic stability. The less critical faculty and Student Offices were positioned at upper levels to shield the labs from solar exposure to the south and west, as well as from traffic noise and impact sound transmission.

Natural daylighting was provided to all office areas and borrowed light was transmitted through glazed screens and door sidelights into corridors beyond. The above-grade labs receive only east or north light to ensure the best overall thermal control. Low level, zoned lighting systems were employed in all photonics labs complete with dimming control. Low level lighting coupled with occupancy sensors were employed in all other labs and offices that received natural light. Roof overhangs and projecting frames and fins help reduce the overall heat gain on the envelope.

Laboratory spaces for chemical use are energy intensive because they require 100% of the room air to be fully exhausted to the exterior. Coupled with the sheer volume of air changes [as high as 60/hr. in Photonics] and the management of associated equipment heat loads presented considerable challenges in meeting the energy reduction targets for the project.

The design team approached this challenge with two primary energy saving strategies: exhaust air heat recovery and chiller-based heat recovery for simultaneous heating/cooling loads. A sophisticated control strategy was implemented to heat spaces with the heat removed from the cooled spaces. Chiller-based heat recovery was a unique opportunity on this project, as the building receives its main services from the campus central plant. Efficiencies were achieved by interconnecting the building’s three hydronic loops – the heating water loop, the chilled water loop and the exhaust air heat recovery loop. These two main energy saving features were further enhanced by recirculating back into the laboratories, air that is returning to the air handlers from office spaces.

Client University of Ottawa
Architect COLE+Associates Architects Inc.
Structural Engineer WSP Canada [formerly Genivar Inc.]
Mechanical Engineer BPR Tetra Tech
Electrical Engineer bpa [Bouthillette Parizeau]
Civil Engineer exp Inc.
Landscape Architect CSW Landscape Architects Limited
Vibration and Acoustic Consultants Swallow Acoustic Consultants Ltd. & RWDI
Environmental Consultant  RWDI
Building Envelope PTVD, member of CLEB [formerly BVDA Engineering]
EMI [Electro-Magnetic Interference] Consultants Vitatech Electromagnetics
LEED Consultant WSP MMM Group [formerly Enermodal Engineering]
Commissioning WSP MMM Group [formerly Seawood Solutions Inc.]
General Contractor/Construction Manager Pomerleau Inc.
Photos Desmarais Photography

Concrete and steel construction by Pomerleau Inc. with aluminum-frame curtainwall, metal and concrete block cladding, exterior green walls by greenscreen; mineral wool and polyiso insulation; porcelain tile flooring, resilient and carpet tile, low-flow fixtures and Sloan Optima Plus faucets [Dobbins Sales]; water-cooled helical chillers, heat exchangers and laboratory exhaust units.

– Energy intensity [building and process energy] = 1,343MJ/m2/year
– Energy cost reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 40%
– Potable water consumption from municipal sources = 4,147L/occupant/year [does not include process water usage]
– Reduction in potable water consumption relative to reference building = 62%
– Reclaimed and recycled materials by value = 25%
– Regional materials [800km radius] by value = 31%