Ab­bott inau­gu­rates $43 mil­lion science buil­ding

Struc­ture built around cen­tu­ry old gink­go tree

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

A vi­sit last week to John Ab­bott Col­lege by Dr. Da­vid Su­zu­ki coin­ci­ded with the of­fi­cial ope­ning of the Sainte-Anne-de-Bel­le­vue CE­GEP’s new $43 mil­lion Science and Health Tech­no­lo­gies buil­ding.

The en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly ad­van­ced buil­ding is ex­pec­ted to re­ceive its LEED gold cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Ac­cor­ding to the Ca­na­da Green Buil­ding Coun­cil web­site, LEED, Lea­der­ship in Ener­gy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Design, is the in­ter­na­tio­nal­ly ac­cep­ted third-par­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram set­ting a stan­dard for the design, cons­truc­tion and ope­ra­tion of high per­for­ming green buil­dings. LEED Ca­na­da’s web­site says the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion means such buil­dings show im­me­diate and mea­su­rable dif­fe­rences com­pa­red to other buil­dings.

A LEED gold buil­ding can on­ly re­ceive cer­ti­fi­ca­tion af­ter one year in use.

For Su­zu­ki, such buil­dings should be the rule, not the ex­cep­tion.

The state-of-the-art science buil­ding that is now open to stu­dents and tea­chers houses John Ab­bott’s science, health science and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal science pro­grams. And its low car­bon foot­print means the buil­ding is a “li­ving la­bo­ra­to­ry” for stu­dents in en­vi­ron­men­tal and ener­gy stu­dies.


A gink­go tree si­tua­ted in the cour­tyard of the cen­tu­ry-old cam­pus has be­come a sym­bol of en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fort. The en­tire buil­ding was de­si­gned around the tree, which now stands just feet from a so­lid glass wall in the buil­ding’s foyer.

«The act of fol­ding the buil­ding around the exis­ting tree crys­ta­lizes the re­cog­ni­tion that science should have to­wards na­ture and hu­man­kind,» Gilles Sau­cier, ar­chi­tect with Sau­cier and Per­rotte Ar­chi­tects, said du­ring a tour.

He did ad­mit the tree, one of the ol­dest spe­cies on earth, was in the way but said he could not ima­gine killing it.

Sau­cier said the buil­ding was de­si­gned to res­pect the way people move. With that in mind, a stair­case consi­de­red the el­bow of the buil­ding boasts wide, open concept steps the re­ward of which is an un­pa­ral­le­led view of the wa­ter­front cam­pus. The hi­gher one goes, the bet­ter the view through floor to cei­ling sheets of glass win­dows. Six floors boast class­rooms, state-of-the-art labs, of­fices and lear­ning spaces. There are 112,000 square feet of li­ving space, for­ty percent of which are co­ve­red with win­dows. The buil­ding took four years to design.


Dr. Su­zu­ki was the key­note spea­ker at an inau­gu­ral ga­la held last Wed­nes­day eve­ning at­ten­ded by po­li­ti­cal no­tables, com­mu­ni­ty lea­ders, col­lege alum­ni and sup­por­ters. The eve­ning was the of­fi­cial ope­ning of the new sciences of the buil­ding. It was al­so a way to thank those who hel­ped fund the $43 mil­lion pro­ject. Cal­led unique in edu­ca­tio­nal fun­drai­sing, mo­ney for the buil­ding came from cor­po­rate, com­mu­ni­ty and student sup­port in ad­di­tion to mo­ney ge­ne­ra­ted by the John Ab­bott Col­lege Foun­da­tion’s Buil­ding Fu­tures Ca­pi­tal Cam­pai­gn. The Trot­tier Fa­mi­ly Foun­da­tion ki­cked things off with a $2,000,000 do­na­tion, fol­lo­wed by the JAC’s Student Union with a $500,000 do­na­tion. Pfi­zer Ca­na­da and other in­dus­try lea­ders al­so contri­bu­ted. The funds were com­bi­ned with a $7 mil­lion contri­bu­tion from the pro­vin­cial and fe­de­ral go­vern­ments.

JAC Di­rec­tor Ge­ne­ral Gi­nette Shee­hy prai­sed the fun­drai­sing mo­del, which she cal­led unique wi­thin Que­bec’s CE­GEP com­mu­ni­ty.


Ar­chi­tect Gilles Sau­cier cal­led the stair­case of the new science buil­ding its el­bow. He li­ke­ned using the stair to clim­bing a tree.


Stu­dents work in state-of-the-art labs.


The hi­gher one goes up on the stair­case, the bet­ter the view of the wa­ter­front cam­pus.

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