Trent University Environmental Sciences
Trent University, as conceived in Ron Thom’s 1964 campus plan, integrates bold modern buildings into its natural environment along the Otonabee River between Toronto and Ottawa. By the late 1980s, the expanding Earth Sciences departments needed new facilities for research as well as teaching laboratories, offices, and animal-care and greenhouse facilities. The resulting structure connects to all three floors of the existing chemistry and physics building and operates as part of an integrated science complex.
Consistent with Henriquez Partners Architects’ interest in history, Thom’s campus plan and fragments of his architecture were used to develop the overall design of the building and merge it into the existing campus fabric without overt imitation. A wheelchair-accessible exterior arcade provides a missing link in the university’s pedestrian system, connecting a footbridge from the main campus over the river to the Chemistry Building in a rapidly growing new sector of the campus. Lab spaces form the central spine of the two concrete-frame wings. Offices on both sides are oriented toward exterior views. An abandoned railway track, raised on a trestle in its original position, appears to split the building with its latent line of force. Dominating the atrium at the apex of the building, a grand staircase looks up to the “envirosphere,” a sphere-like rotunda inclined at 23.5 degrees on its axis signifying Earth’s finite nature. (Henriquez/Lazslo Nemeth Architects)
Status: Completed in 1991
Size: 80,000 square feet