The University of Ottawa Advanced Research Complex (ARC) houses two separate and equally exciting leading research efforts: the uOttawa Centre for Advanced Photonics and a cluster of state-of-the-art Geo-Science laboratories. This five-storey, 14,000 m/sq. building, including 4,580 m/sq. of office & support spaces, serves as a teaching and research facility in photonics and environmental analysis. In addition to offices & classrooms, clean rooms for laser testing and other laboratories and specialized spaces are devoted to researching inert gases and the analysis of glacial specimens. The ARC houses Canada’s only accelerator mass spectrometer, a $13-million instrument that is used world-wide to measure traces of radionuclides. This project achieved LEED Gold.

There have been many challenges on this project. As vibrations can affect the accuracy of the instruments (sensitive photonic lasers, spectrometer and microscopes), four raft slabs sit on approximately 60 piles each; the equipment in turn sit on these slabs isolating them from vibrations from within the building and from traffic on the adjacent streets. The building’s 10 labs are controlled for temperature, humidity, and electromagnetic interference. Clean rooms recycle air 30 to 60 times per hour. The labs have been designed in clusters to promote collaboration and synergy between researchers. Professors, scientists, researchers and support staff occupy 54 offices with 138 workstations for staff & students and 7 sophisticated meeting/board rooms. All office space was designed to strict uOttawa policies regarding office size and furniture allocation. The height of the building drops from five storeys to three storeys on one side to align with an adjacent residential neighbourhood and to meet tight zoning restrictions. From an urban design perspective, the complex gives the street a stronger presence, showing the University in the best possible light.

Through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s New Initiatives Fund and Leading Edge Fund, the federal government invested $5.5 million toward the construction of this amazing complex. An additional $7.2 million went toward equipment for two of the labs located in the facility. Construction coincided with the publication of a report ranking the University of Ottawa fourth in Canada in science and engineering. COLE+Associates are proud to have been an integral part in this project with the University of Ottawa.