Trent University Student Center

  • area / size 34,000 sqft
  • Completed 2017
  • Location Peterborough, Canada,
  • Teeple Architects have designed a 34,000 square foot Student Center for Trent University located in Peterborough, Canada.

    Located at the main entrance to the Trent University’s iconic Symons Campus, the new Student Centre is a concise exploration of connections: connecting the building with the bucolic adjacent Otonabee River landscape; connecting new construction to the historical precedent of the surrounding original campus architecture—designed by Canadian modern architectural master Ron Thom; and, most importantly, connecting the students with one another in a dynamic and inspiring setting.

    Featuring a solid ground-level façade on the road side, the building opens to panoramic views south to the river, and to the larger campus and surrounding landscape from the upper stories. A true indoor-outdoor space, interior gathering spaces open to exterior patios and terraces. From the river side, the legibility of the building’s floor plates subtly references the geometry of the adjacent Bata library in a more elongated, organic language.

    Responding to a desire to connect with the original Trent campus design but also to arrive at a unique and contemporary approach to the natural beauty of the site, the road-facing side of the building is clad with a unique photo-etched precast concrete. The precast panels’ exterior finish was created from an image of the distinctive rough aggregate concrete used on the Bata Library and throughout the original campus, enhanced by dynamic folds in the panel forms. Visible exterior wood roof structure—comprised of 200mm deep douglas fir glulam beams—ties both to the surrounding wooded environment as well as detailing in the original university buildings. Together, the materiality, detailing and strong horizontal expression of floor levels serve to communicate with and offer a lighter, respectful contemporary counterpoint to the materiality and formal logic of the Ron Thom campus.

    A pragmatic sustainable strategy underpins the design of the building, centered on passive approaches. The building’s carefully considered orientation and solid-to-void relationships take advantage of heat gain in winter from the south and east but deep canopies ensure key areas are shaded from summer sun. Natural ventilation is provided through the Centre’s large 3-story forum. The curtain wall glazing achieves high-performance through use of Low-E, tinted and fritted glazing units that are filled with argon. Other measures include energy reclamation on air handling units, LED lighting and low flow plumbing fixtures. Underpinning a desire for social sustainability and to continue Trent’s history as a socially progressive institution, the building meets University’s stringent accessibility guidelines, and incorporates important spaces such as gender free washrooms and a breastfeeding area.

    ArchitectTeeple Architects
    Project Team: Stephen Teeple, Chris Radigan, Darryl Biedron, Eric Boelling, Aiden Mitchelmore, Julie Jira, Polly Auyeung, Will Ellsworthy, Tanya Cazzin
    Photography: Andrew Latreille, Scott Norsworthy