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On the north end of the University of Waterloo’s main campus, a four-storey tall Warrior emblazoned on a golden background looks out across the football stadium. A symbol of university spirit and pride, the emblem is a bold focal point on the newly erected Columbia Icefield Field House. We are pleased to announce this project has received an Outstanding Project Award from LEARNING BY DESIGN magazine. This publication recognizes educational facility design projects from K-12 and post-secondary institutions that excel in the areas of innovation, sustainability, interior design, next-generation learning, planning and functional design, and community needs.


Designed by our architecture and engineering team at WalterFedy, the 65,000 SF facility offers an expansive and divisible turf field and ancillary spaces developed to increase the capacity for drop-in recreation, intramurals, and varsity training.

The Field House is constructed of durable pre-cast concrete, giving the appearance of strength, stability, and permanence. The façade is decorated by texturized concrete to break down the scale, add visual interest, and support a more contemporary look. Large windows jet across the top of the building, allowing natural light to flood the playing field inside. The south side of the building incorporates special light-diffusing glass that scatters rays and casts an even glow across the field below.


The soaring ceilings were deliberately designed to allow varsity athletes to practice indoors with relatively few obstructions. The height also allows for the integration of a second-level running track, viewing gallery, and change room facilities, as mapped out in the Recreation Master Plan our team completed for the University in 2017.

Beyond its functional purpose, the Field House represents the University’s ongoing commitment to creating a memorable student experience and prioritizing physical and mental wellbeing.

 

View the LEARNING BY DESIGN Spring 2021 publication here.

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February 25, 2021 – WalterFedy is pleased to announce that local Kitchener office development, One Young, has received an Ontario Wood Design Award for Mid-Rise Development. The award was presented by The Canadian Wood Council’s Ontario Wood WORKS! in partnership with the Ontario Forest Industries Association on February 24 in Toronto.

 

 “The winning projects reflect the innovation of an evolving wood culture that is gaining momentum in Ontario,” explained Marianne Berube, Executive Director for the Ontario Wood WORKS! Program.

 

“The design and construction teams from the winning projects are revolutionizing the way we think about wood in construction,” said Ian Dunn, Interim President & CEO of OFIA. “Growing pressure for the built environment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in more sustainably conscious building material choices that align with our members’ commitment for sustainable development – meeting the needs of today without compromising the needs of future generations.” 

 

The project was a collaboration between WalterFedy architects and engineers, Timmerman Timberworks, Dfy Studio, and Jackman Construction Ltd., among others. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this project a success. 

 

Read the full news release from Ontario Wood WORKS!

Learn more about One Young.

 

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There is a lot more to creek design than meets the eye. When our Water Resources team was tasked with taking a Cambridge stormwater pond offline to make way for a more diverse creek ecosystem, we knew there would be a lot of challenges. Add in the removal of a 400m stretch of road and you’ve got the makings of a really complex water resources project.

 

The on-line pond had been used for decades to capture runoff from the adjacent agricultural land but had also been recommended for removal for over 20 years. When the Hunt Club Valley Estates subdivision broke ground on the old farmland around the pond, our team worked with GSP Group to devise a plan to take the pond offline and create a more cohesive environment for the wildlife in the area and to restore the coldwater characteristics of the creek which had been negatively impacted by the existing pond. We worked closely with the Grand River Conservation Authority to ensure our plan allocated enough land for enhancements, restoration, and floodplain.

 

Removing the pond meant this existing fish habitat was lost so our Water Resources team restored a wetland area in another portion of the site to ensure an equivalent habitat was reintroduced. A 400m stretch of Briardean Road bisected the wetland and, to restore the wetland into a single contiguous feature, the portion of Briardean Road through the wetland was removed. “Proposing the removal of a section of road isn’t something we regularly do, but in this case, it was what was best for the wetland,” says Brian Verspagen, leader of our Water Resources team. “Excavating out the road made it possible for us to turn the whole area back into a unified wetland habitat and reconnect Middle Creek so it could stay connected with the Speed River.”

 

With the road out of the way and the two sides of the wetland reconnected, the next major component of the project was the restoration of Middle Creek through the former farm pond. “We had to design a path for the creek to get from one end to the other without the pond in the middle, while also navigating a 1.5-metre change in elevation,” says Brian. “Instead of doing a 1.5-metre drop in one spot with a waterfall, which would make it impossible for fish to migrate up the creek, our team introduced a series of meanders [bends] with pools and riffles changing the grade of the creek just 6 inches at a time.” By studying the types of fish that would commonly live in this creek, the team knew the fish would have a spurt speed that could handle a 6-inch incline over a 2-metre distance if they had adequate rest time in a pool afterward.

The pool and riffle sequence also had an additional design advantage. “Middle Creek is a cold-water creek, which is quite rare for the area, so keeping the temperature of the creek down was important,” says Brian. “Running in and out of the shallow pond had been warming up the creek water, making it difficult for aquatic life to thrive. Each riffle section oxygenates the water, causing evaporation. The energy the water uses to change state from a fluid to a vapour cools it.” This means even if the water warms up in the pool sections, it can cool up to half a degree when it passes over a riffle, rebalancing the water temperature.

 

Within the pools, the team introduced areas that would enable the fish to breed and safely create nests for their eggs and fry. These spaces included fallen trees and root wads that would protect the fish from predators like raccoons, while also shading them from the sun. Overflow ponds were also introduced, creating the perfect habitat for the many frogs that live in the area.

 

This project has revitalized an underused ecosystem and breathed new aquatic life into the area for the whole neighbourhood to enjoy.

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World Architecture Day recognizes our collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat and the role architects play in developing the built environment. This requires thoughtful and pragmatic design to reflect each unique community and to integrate each space into the context of its surroundings. To explore some of the considerations that go into each design to ensure it meets these goals, we asked some members of our architectural team to share their thoughts on what makes good design:

 

"A good design is one that focuses on how people experience and use the space you are designing. Architects have the ability to see the world with a different set of eyes and then translate that worldview into the built environment. Most importantly, we are able to design spaces that give people a sense of community and place. If we can give people a sense of belonging by creating functional, durable, and aesthetically pleasing spaces, we have successfully attained a good design."

– Maria Melo, Architect

 

"Good design is the outcome of teamwork and collaboration in response to a client's need. When we work together, we discover new and innovative design solutions."

– Michael Winters, Architect, Project Manager

 

"A good design is one that reflects the environment around it."

– Jamie Van Dyk, Architect, Project Manager, Partner

 

"Memorable designs make impressions that dwell by successfully and uniquely answering the questions posed by a situation. The designer must be driven and open to understand what those questions are, and they must ensure they place themselves within their responses."

– Wade Brown, Intern Architect

 

"Good architectural design creates a physical space for people that reinforces their physical and emotional wellbeing, strengthens communities and cultures, and embodies their values. Good design should also be sustainable and harmonious with its surrounding environment, but in the process, design shouldn't take itself too seriously. The best design should include a hint of something whimsical and unexpected to inspire imagination."

– Ben Gregory, Architect, Team Lead

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WalterFedy has received an Outstanding Project Award for excellence in educational facility design in the spring 2020 edition of LEARNING BY DESIGN, the premier source for education design innovation and excellence. The Janet Metcalfe Public School (Kitchener, ON) has been recognized by Learning By Design magazine for its architectural and interior design and for having next-generation benchmark type design and planning features worthy of imitation. 


LEARNING BY DESIGN’s distinguished spring 2020 jury of five architects and end-user’s applauded WalterFedy for its accomplishment in designing the Janet Metcalfe Public School.  All projects included in this edition are each peer-reviewed. The jury discusses and looks for in the project unique and or new concepts being implemented to improve education facility building design.  Projects such as the Janet Metcalfe Public School are scored on six measures: Innovation, Community Need, Interior Design, Sustainability, Functional Design, and 21st Century Learning.   


The Jury comments about this project included: “The exterior entry design and lobby space is very welcoming and warm. It is very nice to see a medically fragile program represented within a project that has strong interior and exterior design. What stands out is how the materials and finishes were selected to replicate the forest landscape that surrounds the building. While part of the finishes involves this nature aspect, other components pay homage to the technology industry. This school is a perfect blend of the two elements.” 


LEARNING BY DESIGN, published in the Spring, Summer, Fall each year circulates to more than 50,000 leaders and decision-makers at all levels of education—from early childhood and elementary schools, career-technical, college, and university-level institutions across the United States.  For more details and to access the magazine’s digital edition, visit: www.learningbydesignmagazine.com  

 

View the original press release here.
View an e-version of the magazine here.

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Shiyu Wei is a multi-talented person. She paints, designs artisanal jewellery, and she is a mathematics whiz. With her creative prowess and appetite for logic, a career in architecture was a natural fit.

 

Backed by a math degree from Harvard and a Master of Architecture from MIT, Shiyu landed her first job at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, a prestigious firm in Seattle, WA. The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural beauty and abundant resources, and clients were eager to see that reflected in their designs. This meant heavy timber construction—a less conventional method in other states—was in popular demand. “It was a great experience because I got to dabble in the design of the structure and work closely with engineers to make it work.”

 

Now an Intern Architect at WalterFedy, Shiyu’s natural curiosity for how things operate has been instrumental to her career growth. Her commitment to understanding all parts of the process, from initial design to final review, elevates her work. “Having knowledge of construction details helps you design better. It’s a circular feedback. You can’t do the beginning well without understanding the end.”

A quantitative person, Shiyu is motivated to work with purpose. “In math, you have to be very logical and I think that has always made me want to figure out the ‘why’ in my work. I want my projects to be logical. It’s not good enough to make a design decision because it looks good or interesting.”

 

Great design is often subjective, but for Shiyu, a winning design is both layered and intentional. For this reason, Louis Khan, an American architect known for blending modern design with classical elements, is one of her design icons. “When you approach a building from a distance, you think wow that’s a great shape. Once you get closer you see beautiful material and well-placed entrances. Then you go inside. You keep zooming in and zooming in and you still find great details and beautiful things. That to me is great design.”

 

Projects don’t need to be as grandiose as Khan’s to bring joy according to Shiyu. They just need to be impactful. “Some of the projects that make me happy to be an architect are school board projects,” she said. “These projects impact people directly every day. You make the school environment a better place for the teachers and create a better learning environment for the kids. That makes me feel good.”

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In a burgeoning neighbourhood in Kitchener’s south-end sits Janet Metcalfe Public School, the area's newest public education facility designed to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse community it serves. With programming for children from junior kindergarten to Grade 8, the two-storey facility includes 20 classrooms, two special education rooms, five kindergarten rooms, an administration centre, library, technology classroom with workshop, double gymnasium, and washrooms. Home to a specialty program for medically fragile students, the design includes program space that accommodates the needs of eight children with medical needs, their caregivers, and teachers, ensuring equal access to education for all. The site also hosts a 6,800 SF daycare facility.

 

The building is located across from a preserved remnant of Carolinian forest. This landscape has inspired the materials used in the building. Clay brick, stone, and glass are the main material, with the underside of soffits appearing as wood. Soaring windows throughout the building flood communal areas and classrooms with natural light, and delight staff and students with views of the neighbouring conservation area. Warm wood finishes and natural colours inside, with bright colours utilized sparingly for wayfinding, allow students to move through the calm space with purpose. The playful green in the Library emulates the peaceful pastoral views of Waterloo Region, while exposed ceilings, modern fixtures, and gleaming glass align with the modern feel of the booming tech industry in the area.

When construction was about to commence, the requirements for the medically fragile area became known. The program was scheduled to move into another new school but the space was too small to meet program needs. The consultation process to develop the design of this space involved analysis of the existing inadequate classroom facility. Meetings and discussions with teachers and leadership lead to the conversion of two proposed classrooms into a specialized facility for medically fragile students.

 

The medically fragile program area includes a large, fully accessible washroom with a change table, and a large separate changing area with storage for supplies and clothing. An additional medical nursing area has space for charting, as well as refrigerated storage for medication and a sink for medical preparation. The design also includes a laundry and kitchen area within the classroom to care for the needs of students. The classroom itself has ample space to accommodate mobility needs and support equipment. A padded calming area allows students to retreat to a comfortable space and still be part of the lesson. This area includes a variety of sensory simulation equipment. To enhance functionality, a separate room was incorporated to store mobility equipment when not in use. This space plays in important role in legitimizing the educational needs of a historically underserved student demographic.

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Corbec Inc, a respected steel galvanizing company native to Quebec, has chosen Hamilton’s Red Hill Business Park as the site of their fourth Canadian plant. Valued at over $40 million, the 100,000 square foot industrial space will house a fully automated galvanizing system, 12 ft. deep equipment pits, as well as an office, cafeteria, and washroom facilities for the 100 people the plant expects to employ. In collaboration with construction manager Cooper Construction, WalterFedy is providing architecture; structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering services for the project.

 

“This is a project that highlights our industrial abilities, so it’s a fun project from that point of view,” said Structural Designer Kyle Pellerin. But even textbook buildings come with unique challenges. The City of Hamilton’s Planning and Development departments have stringent rules around aesthetics to keep the City looking beautiful. “Industrial buildings like these don’t usually need a modern look, but our design team is finding ways to highlight the facility that will keep the building simple, while still looking really sharp,” explained Kyle.

 

While subtle in appearance, the processes and equipment inside the building are remarkably complex. “Corbec is a leader in this industry,” said Project Manager Aaron Engel. “They use a system that is hands free through the dip and galvanizing process, which takes workers out of the hazardous areas of the plant. It’s very innovative.” Unlike most designs, the team is building an envelope to support a pre-determined layout and process. Since the equipment is entirely automated, designers must meet a multitude of specific criteria to ensure functionality. “Structurally this is a very sensitive project,” said Aaron. “There are extreme tolerance requirements for the automated conveyance system – less than an inch. Any variances can throw off the system.” 

 

Equipped with 3D models from suppliers demonstrating where equipment will sit, the team is meticulously planning structural elements, from the facility’s shell to catwalks, platforms, and access points. “It’s not always easy to wrap your head around 2D drawings for buildings like these,” said Kyle. “A 3D model makes it easier to spot potential challenges.” Using 3D drafting and collaboration software, the team can not only work through design interferences, but also walk through the model virtually with the Owner to ensure the intent is being met.

 

“This is a great development for Southern Ontario. Hot dip galvanizing is always a pinch point for steel manufacturers. To have more of these galvanizing vendors in Southwestern Ontario is a great benefit to the steel industry and will be helpful in reducing time on delivery,” said Aaron.

 

Construction is expected to kick off in early 2020.

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To welcome winter, we turned to our Interior Designer, Lisa Speers, to give us a look into what we can expect in the coming season!  
 

Express Yourself

Bold geometrics, hand-drawn sketches, playful colour blocking: this style is all about expression. As with the expressionist art movement, this trend celebrates the bold and imperfect. You can try daring colour combinations such as burnished red with navy, or mustard with mauve, or  embrace line art – a key motif for this look.

 

Thoughtfully Simple

On the flip side, this trend encourages a calm, warm and peaceful mood to work in – it’s all about making our surroundings safe and inviting. If bold and bright isn't your style, trade it in for something soft and neutral. 

 

Colour Trends

This season, embrace warm neutrals like oatmeal and natural buff. Beige has also made a comeback and can serve as the perfect base to build around. 

 

Mustard is another popular colour in interiors. In previous seasons, we were seeing mustard paired with Scandinavian neutrals, but for this season, it is being matched with richer jewel tones. 

 

We haven’t seen a lot of purple in a while, but its time has come. Purple represents royalty, luxury, opulence, and also creativity, wisdom, and peace— all the things we want to feel in relation to our environments. Used on a small scale, this colour can have a big impact.

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A career in sustainability can take many forms. Some work in environmental law or advocacy, and others focus on research and development for new technologies. For resident sustainability expert Marlen Aleman, her niche is Asset and Facilities Management (AFM).  

 

Marlen has spent many years serving as a sustainability consultant, helping thousands of square feet of real estate across Ontario earn varying degrees of sustainability certification. A LEED Green Associate and certified Facilities Management Professional, Marlen combines her knowledge of building operations and building best practices to help clients achieve their sustainability goals. 

 

“Everything we do in AFM has to do with sustainability,” said Marlen. “We are helping to maximize building performance and lifecycle, so rather than decommissioning a building and start a new construction, we help our clients in the planning to keep their assets in good condition and up to standards. We can also help with operational strategies that impact energy consumption, but also the productivity and wellbeing of the occupants. It’s creating a sustainable environment and I am very proud of that.” 

 

Marlen and her team work closely with clients to help them map out plans to increase their sustainable practices and earn recognition for the strides they have made. Often times, this takes the form of guiding partners through programs like Buildings Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), which has a comprehensive rating system that helps owners of existing buildings achieve certification and recognition for their practices on an operational level. This means taking a critical look at energy, water, air, comfort, health and wellness, custodial practices, purchasing, waste, site, and stakeholder engagement. 

 

“The early integration of sustainability considerations is key for the success of any project. Our work helps our clients make informed decisions that have a positive impact in their bottom line, the environment and the well being of building occupants,” said Marlen. 

 

Whether you have an established building, or are exploring a new build, there are numerous programs available to help stimulate greener practices and design in business, including LEED, WELL, BOMA, and NetZero. While more and more businesses are striving to create positive change in their buildings and work culture, many are still working up the courage to take the next step.  

 

“One of the biggest misconceptions about sustainability is that it is expensive,” said Marlen. In fact, it is more accessible than you might think. “Some very important green strategies and activities cost very little,” she explained. The best place to start is with the people in your organization, and this approach is virtually free. With the implementation of awareness programs, tenants can start making changes to their habits that greatly reduce their environmental impact. “Green building systems are most effective if building occupants know how they work. That’s where every sustainability approach should begin.” 

 

Outside of her role as an Asset Management Specialist, Marlen actively participates in conversations on green living. She is a key member of WalterFedy’s Sustainable Advisory Committee, which was developed to facilitate ongoing change within the organization to reduce environmental impact. She also volunteers with Women in Renewable Energy and provides mentorship to young professionals looking to jumpstart their career in green industry.  Her motivation is simple: “The planet is the only home we have. I want my son to grow up in a healthy environment and enjoy nature. Sustainability is a way of living. It isn’t just a standalone project. It is a wide cultural change that needs to happen and can happen.” 

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