Major refit for Macdonald Engineering Building

Spring 2012

The all-glass atrium blends old and new. (Photo: Helene Mayer)

The Macdonald Engineering Building recently underwent a $25-million facelift. The 19-month project was part of a $2-billion federal-provincial economic stimulus package that funded infrastructure improvements to support science and technology initiatives at post-secondary institutions.

The staircase below is a nighttime view from the top of the six-storey glass atrium that many consider the renovation’s most attractive feature.

The refit corrected major deficiencies in the stately engineering building and design changes make more effective use of research, study and office space. Several laboratories were reconfigured or relocated, graduate and undergraduate students have benefited from cleaner and brighter work areas and there is greater wheelchair accessibility.

Inside the atrium (Photo: Helene Mayer)

Renovations to the 106-year-old structure include an elevator, a small number of additional offices for professors, new washrooms, considerably improved energy efficiency and heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing upgrades to meet modern research and teaching standards. Ventilation, for example, was extended and centralized to improve air circulation — particularly in laboratories.

The government project targeted infrastructure improvements. It did not include teaching and research equipment or classroom and laboratory furnishings. The Faculty relies almost entirely on alumni and other gifts to purchase these items.

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