University of Calgary – Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

  • area / size 43,000 sqft
  • Completed 2016
  • Location Calgary, Canada,
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects produced a dynamic space for the innovative Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Canada.

    The University of Calgary is advancing pedagogy with a state-of-the-art research centre dedicated to the learning process. The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning realizes the university’s vision to be a world-leader in research and development of innovative learning experiences across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines.

    This highly versatile, technology-rich ‘incubator’ is designed to inspire new approaches to collaborative learning, enhanced by the creative use of learning technologies, flexible spaces and furnishings. The facility is reconfigurable day-to-day, based on the evolving needs of students, teachers and researchers.

    The main hall, or spine, is filled with natural light and establishes a campus axis announced by two cantilever projections that extend over the front entry plaza and into the campus green on the other side of the building.

    The spine integrates community learning spaces that include an amphitheater and ‘hanging pods’, which serve as small break-out rooms where six to eight people can sit. The space also connects seamlessly to formal learning studios that are transparent and visible to researchers and casual observers alike.

    The Taylor Institute reimagines the lecture hall where all furnishings are on wheels and flat floors allow for all kinds of reconfigurations, freeing instructors to position themselves wherever they want to be.

    The heart of the building is a highly flexible public forum capable of effortlessly changing configurations using mobile technology and hidden seats to function as a 400-seat theatre, a flat-floor open space, a teaching lab or a community meeting space.

    By locating outdoor social areas adjacent to the spine, the transition between interior and exterior of the building is blurred; and students, faculty and visitors are encouraged to spill out from the building to gather in the outdoor spaces. The intent of the cantilevered projections is to show that learning – central to university life – takes place everywhere.

    Sustainable design features of this LEED Gold certified building include high performance windows, LED lighting controlled by daylight sensors, low-flow water fixtures, a well-insulated roof, radiant heating and cooling, and sourcing energy from the campus district energy plant. Diamond Schmitt Architects is the design architect and Gibbs Gage the architects of record.

    ArchitectDiamond Schmitt Architects
    PhotographyEd White