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Algonquin College Student Commons

Envisioned as the “Heart of the Campus”, IBI Group designed a 110,000 sq. ft. Student Commons for Algonquin College, providing a destination for student gatherings, events and celebrations.

PCL Constructors Canada
Ottawa, ON
110,000 sq ft Size
2012 Completed

Having struggled with a significant lack of student space for years, Algonquin College commissioned IBI Group and Teeple Architects Inc. to design a new 110,000 sq. ft. Student Commons building, envisioned to become the service hub of the campus. As Architect of Record, the IBI design team established a destination for students to access student groups and activities, support services, counselling and career development.

The design provides an architecturally striking entry for students and visitors, with comfortable, accessible interior and exterior spaces for student learning and socializing. The Student Commons is equipped with a living room, study hall and “rec room” for the student body, with the central focus being a three-storey open atrium space. The lounge enfolds a large, outdoor commons, the ‘Central Park’, bringing the outdoors into the experience of the space, and providing a natural counterpoint to an energetic environment.

The landscape architecture of the Student Commons is designed to reflect three main initiatives: to highlight campus identity at a broader scale; to support diverse programs and enhance the students’ experience through various “outdoor rooms”; as well as to create a functional landscape that is self-sustaining. Understanding the prominent location of the landscape plaza in the context of long-term development of Algonquin College, the Student Commons landscape will be a focal point as well as the key note on the “Green Spine” throughout the campus.

Exterior of Robert C. Gillett Student Commons at Algonquin College
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Award of Excellence


Building Category,
By Canadian Design-Build Institute

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Award of Merit, Urban Design Awards


Campus Infill Category,
By City of Ottawa

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The IBI team provided professional and exceptional services related to the development of design, documentation, construction administration and project close-out in what was a complex process with numerous stakeholders… I have no hesitation in recommending this group for your current undertakings.

John Dalziel
Head of Major Construction
Physical Resources, Algonquin College

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