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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.

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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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Stephen Donnelly

Associate | Manager, Architecture
Toronto, ON

Toronto, ON

Stephen Donnelly is one of the firm’s leading specialists in the design and construction of educational facilities. His experience ranges from childcare centres, elementary and secondary schools to award winning College and University buildings. He has been involved in all facets of project realization for many of the firm’s large-scale sophisticated projects at several Canadian Universities.

Stephen is currently the project manager and lead designer for the new Applied Health Sciences Addition at the University of Waterloo. He has extensive experience delivering projects via a variety of delivery methods including Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build and P3 procurement.

Donna Johnston

Associate | Manager, Architecture
Toronto, ON

Toronto, ON

Donna is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional with extensive experience as Project Manager for the programming, master planning, design and construction of complex technical facilities. An Associate with IBI Group with a focus on institutional projects, she has been involved in many challenging educational and science-based lab buildings for diagnostics, research and general academics; transit projects; health care institutions and geriatric facilities, and courthouses. With a solid background in a variety of project delivery types, including compliance-based, design-build, fast-track, P3/AFP, and construction management, she is able to bring creative approaches to the realization of demanding projects. Her experience also extends to corporate, retail, custom residential and interior design. With an integrated and cooperative approach to team-building, Donna frequently assumes the role of user-needs coordinator, and has been the lead for a number of successful and award-winning joint-venture collaborations.

Donna is a graduate of Carleton University.

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