Wilfrid Laurier University – Lazaridis Hall

  • area / size 226,000 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Location Waterloo, Canada,
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects designed Lazaridis Hall to support the mission of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada.

    Lazaridis Hall is the new home of the School of Business and Economics and Department of Mathematics at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

    The school’s mandate is to develop academic and community leaders with management and economics skills for a complex and changing global environment. The design brief was to craft a building to support these ambitions. The design response is a flexible building that serves a variety of functions, including academic program delivery, faculty and administration offices, gathering and peer learning areas to serve the entire campus.

    Lazaridis Hall is designed as a landmark to create identity and to signal expansion of a new campus precinct. An architecture of shifting floor plates, cantilevered and curvilinear moves give legibility and identity to program elements, both inside and out, including cantilevered space above the 1000 seat elliptical auditorium and a hovering 300 seat lecture hall in a double stacked drum.

    The large sky lit atrium is a crossroads for the community. This is a public, year round space with informal study lounge areas and breakout rooms interspersed on upper levels to facilitate peer learning and collaboration. Throughout the building, there is a mix of academic offices and classrooms, adjacencies designed for encounter and to break down silos. Expansive hallways with moveable furnishings and nooks further enhance opportunity for interaction.

    Acoustic absorption behind the wood-lined walls of the atrium, classrooms, lecture halls and auditorium ensure noise levels are modulated. CNC custom form acoustic partitions were designed with 250,000 circular openings. In the classrooms, the pattern of this acoustic treatment takes the shape of trees.

    This 226,000 square foot LEED Gold certified building is testament to sustainable design on a large scale and is on track for the 2030 Challenge for fossil fuel reduction. Its energy efficient mandate includes a high performance envelope, only a 20 percent glazing to wall ratio, radiant heating and cooling, displacement ventilation and a large photovoltaic array on the roof.

    The fully glazed ground floor facing University Avenue animates the life of the street with student spaces a café, student clubs and math help positioned here. The building presents a welcoming and accessible aspect that reinforces its public identity as a new center of campus.

    To take a full tour of the space, see here.

    ArchitectDiamond Schmitt Architects
    PhotographyTom Arban, doublespace photography