Owner: University of Windsor
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Size: 297,500 sf Deck + 34,000 sf IC
The design for the University of Windsor Innovation Centre takes its formal and material cues from its interface with the city, campus and surrounding buildings. The site of the complex close to the street, and the detailed use of transparency, reveal the building’s inner workings and expose the vibrant activity within. This constant dialogue between the city, the campus and the building creates an animated facade that speaks of the progressive nature inherent in a modern university. The complex also supports a much needed 800 car parking garage for the campus.
The site of the building and the inclusion of the parking garage make the complex an important arrival destination of the University. The central tower element, further serves as a welcoming beacon that directs visitors to the “University Welcome Centre”. This important space is designed as the focal point for the facility. Conceptually, the elliptical form is designed around the notion of a modern day “Diorama”. The space is designed as a dynamic and ever-changing exhibit of the multifaceted history, events, achievements, and the general life and times of the University and its campus. At its core, the diorama would include a complete scale model of the entire campus for visitors to experience upon their arrival. The diorama would seamlessly integrate physical and virtual displays through the use of lighting, sound and video technology to create a true “theatre-like” experience.
The Innovation Centre also serves as an important commercial and social hub for the campus and community. An “Accelerator space” forms the top floor where startup companies can rent inexpensive office space to launch and develop their businesses. Various commercial and office spaces form the remaining street level. These intended spaces were conceived as an attractor for high volumes of students that are continually coming and going throughout the campus.