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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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Combing through job boards, searching for valuable connections in your existing network, and fine tuning your social profiles can make hunting for a new job feel like a grind. But after hours of slugging away, you’re bound to see a role so perfect you can already picture yourself at your new desk drinking coffee with a collection of grade-A industry pros. When the thrill of the discovery settles, and the daydream fog lifts, reality sets in. To nab an interview, you’re going to need a standout resume.

 

Natalya Smith is a Human Resources Generalist at WalterFedy and spearheads the bulk of our recruitment efforts. Every week she reviews hundreds of resumes, looking for the next great addition to our team. What makes an application stand out from the stacks? Natalya offered us some insight into five things you can do to help bring your CV to the top of the pile.

 

  1. Pay close attention to the organization and editing of your resume
    Resumes that stand out are clearly organized with consistent spacing and text styles. Overcrowded text can be challenging to read, while too much white space can leave your application looking sparse. When a page is clearly organized, it’s easier to spot the keywords relevant to the position (make sure you add them!). Before you submit anything to a hiring manager, be sure to give your document a thorough edit for typos and clarity; for some hiring managers, glaring mistakes may take you out of the running.

  2. Show us why your experience is relevant
    We want to see you have the skills and experience needed to excel in this role. Tailor your resume to complement the expectations of the position. We can tell when you’ve put in the effort to draw parallels and it goes a long way. If you are trying to break into the field, show us experience that is relatable and take the time to explain why.

  3. Education and training are important
    Whether you are a new grad or an experienced applicant, we are interested to learn about your academic qualifications and personal commitment to continuous improvement. Don’t be afraid to point to a couple of courses that are relevant or distinguish you as a strong leader. This section is particularly useful for applicants coming right out of school who may not have industry experience.

  4. Call out any special skills
    No, we don’t mean your aptitude in Microsoft Word—these days that’s a given. Show us that you are familiar with the special applications, tools, technologies, and emerging platforms that are sought after in your role. Sometimes we look for these skills first.

  5. Take some time to write a cover letter
    Do you ever wonder if people actually read your cover letter? Natalya does. A cover letter is your opportunity to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should be tailored to the position. We should know within the first few sentences what you are applying for and why you will be a great fit. While a cover letter is not mandatory, it is one additional way to show us you are truly interested in the position.

 

Bonus tip: We love to see a commitment to our core values

Quality, Integrity, Client Focus, Community Building, and Environmental Sustainability are important values at WalterFedy and demonstrating how you live out these values will go a long way. For example, because we care about giving back to our community, we would be happy to hear about your volunteer experience. While this is not a deal breaker, it certainly shows us that you share one of the values we hold dear.

 

If there is one key takeaway, it is this: if the opportunity feels right, take a little extra time. Not only will it help elevate your application, it also goes a long way with hiring managers, who can spot when you have invested your time and care.

If you are interested in a career at WalterFedy, check out our current opportunities at walterfedy.com/careers/.

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If Melissa Fishman’s career path could be described in one word, it would likely be atypical. Her journey, like so many others, started in a high school guidance office. Without a clear career goal in mind, she was handed a quiz. After a series of questions designed to determine skills, values, and interests, her future was revealed: chemical and biochemical engineering.

 

With her career calling in sight, Melissa went on to study at Western University where she earned a BE in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. But the industry wasn’t quite ready for grads like her.

 

“I had the intention of doing water treatment or environmental services, but university was ahead of the game in offering programs that didn’t match jobs in the workforce.” So post-graduation, Melissa found herself in a mechanical engineering job designing boilers—and it became clear this was not for her.

 

“To be successful, you need to be able to look beyond what you are doing every day, and when I was an Engineer in Training I did not. I sat in my cubby, did what I needed to do for the day, and went home. I disliked my role because I couldn’t see a future beyond it.”

 

Fast forward four years and Melissa was pressing pause on engineering to start a family in Alberta. Unhindered by the many demands of being a new mom, she was eager to try something new. “I’m an antsy person,” she said. “I wanted to do something on the side, so I started a business with a family member distributing handbags.” With her entrepreneurial spirit and expert organizational skills, her business, meant to be a small side gig, expanded to include franchises in Calgary and Ontario.

 

With her second baby on the way, Melissa and her husband decided to move back to Ontario to be closer to family. At this time, her business had grown beyond what she’d originally expected, so she made the decision to sell the business she’d grown in Alberta, leaving the portion in Ontario with her relative.

 

But things changed again, and in 2010, Melissa and her family moved back to Waterloo Region. By this time, her children had started school and she was ready for her next adventure.  

 

“I started to dab around in volunteering, and ended up becoming Vice President of the Lions Club. Then I started a community association because of a potential construction project in my neighbourhood for a new accessible park for the kids.” It was through her community engagements that she discovered her innate ability to manage people and projects. She spearheaded the Amazing Race St. Jacobs, a 5 km race in partnership with local businesses to raise funds for the accessible park. A highly anticipated event in the St. Jacobs community, the race draws over 50 teams, 35 businesses, and has generated over $18,000 in the past 4 years.

 

Melissa built her first LinkedIn account in 2017 as she toyed with the idea of going back to work. It was only a matter of days before she was contacted by a former colleague, Kevin Henry, who was a former employee at WalterFedy. He suggested she visit the company to see if it would be a good fit. “I hadn’t really considered going back into engineering—I had a couple of other ideas at the time—but I came in and loved the environment.”

 

After 12 years of being an active volunteer, self-made business woman, and mother, the transition back to work was not a small decision. “Home was a huge obstacle, although it’s terrible to look at it that way. It took about a year to find the balance between work and home. It’s a little bit of tug and war.” Not one to step down from a challenge, Melissa flourished in her role, despite her initial misgivings. The skills she developed as a community leader and entrepreneur shine through her work as a project manager and team leader. Together, her team develops lighting solutions for high-profile public institutions and commercial developments like Humber College and 460 Columbia.

 

Her advice for other aspiring project managers is simple: Learn to lead and still be part of a team.

 

“It can be difficult sometimes because you essentially are being bossy when you need to be bossy, and holding deadlines when you have to hold deadlines. But, if you can manage to find a way to create a team where you are integrated enough that they feel you are sitting with them through those deadlines instead of over them, that goes a long way.”

 

Reflecting on her career journey, Melissa believes the intentional, linear career path we strive for is a fallacy. “Your path is always changing. It evolves through your first job, and again with your second job. You will zig zag all the way through your career until you discover where you want to go.” This zig zag momentum is nothing to be feared. “That’s how you get the best careers” Melissa explained. “That’s how you find out what actually makes you happy rather than coming out of school and doing what you’ve been told.”

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We are happy to announce we are the recipient of a Diamond Award for Building Engineering in recognition of our work at Conestoga College's Waterloo Campus.

 

In association with Moriyama & Teshima Architects, we provided mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineering services for the College’s $43.5 million, 165,000 square foot expansion of their Waterloo Campus. This project included both a renovation to the existing structure and a new building, nearly doubling the existing area of the College. Part of this project’s funding was supported by the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) and was delivered through a fast-tracked process completed over three phases. In order to meet funding requirements, we strategically designed phases in parallel to expedite the design, tendering, and construction processes.

 

The project included several exciting additions that supplemented Conestoga's existing complement of training and student services programs. The Institute for Culinary and Hospitality Management was designed to educate students interested in hospitality and simultaneously positions Waterloo Region as a culinary tourism destination. The newly added access hub provides career advising, language training, testing, and academic advising for students, newcomers to Canada, job seekers, and area employers. The project also included the addition of the Centre for Advanced Learning, which focuses on information and communications technology, digital technologies, and business.

 

In line with the College’s mandate for sustainability, we were directed consider their targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction and sustainability in our design. Given the constraint of a limited capacity increase the existing electrical power on site, we designed a new cooling plant, which was the largest electrical load in the facility, to use a smaller chiller supplemented with ice storage. By pre-cooling with ice during the evenings, we were able to design a system that did not require additional power supply for the new building.

 

We were also involved in the design of a 150 kW solar installation on the new building. It was important to the College that the solar array was visible to the students and the public to showcase their commitment to sustainability. For this reason, the array was installed above the main entrance to the facility facing a major street – University Avenue. While this limited the physical size and angle of the array,  our firm, in conjunction with local solar panel installers, prepared the preliminary layout of the solar array detailing position, angle, and quantity of the solar panels to maximize electrical output.

 

The complexities the project presented were an invigorating challenge for our team, and we are thrilled with the end result. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the academic community to deliver projects that support student success and benefit the greater community.

 

Congratulations to all of the project partners involved in making this development a success.

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(CINCINNATI, OH and KITCHENER, ONTARIO; November 28, 2018) – Cincinnati-based Hixson Architecture & Engineering and Ontario-based WalterFedy announced today that they are working together to create a new $660 million value-added fresh poultry facility in London, Ontario for Maple Leaf Foods.  Hixson is serving as the lead firm to design and engineer the 640,000 square foot facility, with WalterFedy collaborating to provide architecture and engineering services in Canada. The plant is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced poultry-processing plants in the world, incorporating leading-edge food safety, environmental, and animal welfare processes and technologies.  Construction at the London site is expected to begin in the spring of 2019, with start-up planned for the second quarter of 2021.

According to Michael H. McCain, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, the new, world-class facility “will enable Maple Leaf to meet the steadily growing consumer demand for premium, value-added poultry products, and strengthen Canada's food system." In addition, said McCain, this will be “the largest single-site investment ever made in the Canadian food sector.”

 

Greg Hammond, President and CEO of Hixson, also offered his thoughts on the project. “For 70 years, Hixson has been working with companies throughout North America to design and engineer facilities that can stand the test of time while meeting our clients’ needs for food safety, employee safety, and productivity,” said Hammond. “We are proud to have been selected by Maple Leaf Foods to design this historic project.”

 

“We are excited to be partnering with an organization like Hixson,” said Paul Reitzel, CEO of WalterFedy. “They have a long history of doing excellent work in the food industry. Our firms have the same commitment to values and talented professionals that deliver meaningful and functional projects to our clients.”

 

Read more about this project, including its economic impacts. 

 

ABOUT HIXSON

Hixson is an architecture, engineering and interior design firm specializing in projects for corporate office environments, retail projects and industrial processing facilities. Listed as one of the top firms in North America, Hixson delivers insight and advocacy leading to intelligent project execution through 16 integrated technical disciplines. To learn more, please visit www.hixson-inc.com.

 

ABOUT WALTERFEDY

WalterFedy is a dynamic, integrated design firm of architects, engineers and construction management professionals. With over 65 years of experience, WalterFedy excels at delivering creative solutions and practical built environments that enrich communities.

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