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Exterior photo of Cooksville Go Station track and transit hub.

 

The International Parking and Mobility Institute recently honoured Metrolinx’s Cooksville Go Station with an Excellence in Architectural Design award in their June publication of Parking & Mobility Magazine. The project, conducted in partnership with Infrastructure Ontario, includes a new station with upgraded pedestrian tunnels, platforms, and an overhead pedestrian bridge; a civic plaza; a bus loop; and a six-storey parking structure with 1,900 spaces for commuters. 

 

Servicing a corridor with the third-highest ridership of the seven rail corridors in Ontario, the Cooksville GO Station is an important node in the Province’s transit system. Metrolinx’s goal was for Cooksville to evolve into a major mobility hub connecting users to larger transportation networks. 

 

As Project Architect on the station, WalterFedy’s architectural team worked closely with the Design Architects, NORR Architects & Engineers, to ensure the facility anchored the Cooksville GO Station with iconic architecture to create a sense of placemaking at the urban and human scale. The facility’s most notable feature is the geometric mesh façade abstracted with long, slotted cut-outs. The cladding adds texture and movement to the building and has the unique characteristic of transfiguring the façade with the changing position of sun and shadow.  

 

The system was designed to maximize natural light and airflow while minimizing light disruption in the surrounding neighbourhoods. The design team also employed Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles and accessibility standards to ensure passive supervision of the parking structure. The design is meant to increase the user experience and ease of use for all, regardless of ability or need.  

 

Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in making this project a grand success!

 

You can view the full project profile in the IPMI Parking & Mobility e-magazine on pages 60-61. 

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Leveraging inspiration from our new strategic plan, last October I sat down with our Sustainability Advisory Committee to discuss what bold steps we could take to reaffirm our commitment to sustainability and enhancing the world around us. We had just purchased carbon offsets for 2019 and for the first time in WalterFedy’s almost 70-year history, we could say that we were a carbon-neutral company. While we were excited about this big step we wondered where we could go from here.

 

One of our core values at WalterFedy is Integrity. Integrity means that we “do the right thing,” and not just when it’s convenient. We had set strong carbon reduction goals with Sustainable Waterloo Region and we felt we had done a good thing in purchasing carbon offsets, but we also knew we needed to do more. A true commitment to the environment comes through real organizational and operational change and not just strategic giving.

 

We used this as a springboard to propel our firm toward more substantive changes and set to work in building an ambitious plan to present to our board. Our proposal included a commitment to aggressively cut our greenhouse gas emissions from our 2017 levels by 60% by 2030, all while purchasing enough carbon offsets annually to offset our remaining emissions - and pull us 10% below zero emissions. The board overwhelmingly supported our initiative.

 

Our largest carbon footprint is linked to transportation-related emissions – more specifically in Employee Commute and Business Travel. Our Sustainable Advisory Committee is currently working to develop strategies to help us achieve our reduction goals, but we know that we will all have to work together to realize this ambitious vision. 

 

Beyond the carbon emissions directly linked to our employee’s daily activities, we know that our team can make an even greater impact on the world around us through our design and construction activities. As a firm, we are committed to improving the materials and methods used in our projects so that the spaces we design and construct have minimal impact on the environment.

 

Our Sustainability Advisory Committee is actively developing an implementation plan to integrate The Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Zero Carbon Building Standard and additional sustainable design measures in all our work.

 

Learn more about our corporate sustainability goals.

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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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