Next door to Arthur Erickson’s iconic University Hall, the Isttaniokaksini / Science Commons at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta signifies a bridge to the future. Spanning more than 36,000 square metres, the landscape-hugging building — named after the Blackfoot word meaning “deep knowledge and awareness growing out of the unknown” — houses a cross-disciplinary incubator for cutting edge science research. The five-storey structure links four lab “lofts” along a central hub that connects indoor gathering spaces to the outdoors, a relationship further enhanced by the building’s striking facade, which comprises a double skin of interior and exterior windows shaded by aluminum-fin canopies. On the building’s southern side, the two layers split apart to form a glazed Winter Garden atrium positioned to capture Lethbridge’s ample sunlight, pre-heating winter air before it enters the building’s ventilation system. Thanks to its light-harvesting and passive-energy strategies, the facility projects a significant reduction in energy use and costs, affirming its deep respect of its surroundings.
Project Isttaniokaksini / Science Commons at University of Lethbridge Location Lethbridge, Canada Firm KPMB Architects (Canada) and Stantec Architecture (Canada) Team Bruce Kuwabara and Mitch Hall with Kael Opie, Nic Green, Lucy Timbers, Amin Monsefi and Andrew Hill (KPMB), Michael Moxam and Stephen Phillips with Justin Saly, Rich Hlava, Trish Piwowar, Dale Bateman, James Strong, Chris Onyszchuk, Ruth Wigglesworth, Bo Kim and May Fung (Stantec) Photos Nic Lehoux and Adrien Willaims