KPMB Architects

Waterloo, Ontario

By 2009, the independent, nonpartisan Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) was well on its way to fulfilling its vision to be the world's leading think tank on the global economy, global security, the environment and energy, and global development. Founded in 2001 by Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, cofounders of the Waterloo, Ontario'based wireless-technology firm Research in Motion (now BlackBerry), and strategically located in the province's Technology Triangle, CIGI had experienced rapid growth in its research programs, and had recently partnered with the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to launch the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

In an ambitious next step, CIGI hired KPMB Architects of Toronto to convert the city of Waterloo's former Seagram distillery site into a collaborative urban campus'a vibrant hub for research, education, and innovative thinking. Shirley Blumberg, founding partner of KPMB, says, 'The client had very high ambitions for this as an academic center for excellence and a highly sustainable building that would stand for 100 years or more.'

KPMB designed a three-story, 115,000-square- foot building'a contemporary reinterpretation of a traditional academic quad based on the Oxford model, integrating student workspaces, faculty offices, administrative offices, public spaces, a 250-seat auditorium/lecture hall, a bell tower, and a caf'. The building's solid masonry elevations, which honor the surrounding 19th-century industrial buildings, contrast with glass pavilions and expansive public spaces. It is both a quiet academic sanctuary and a site for social and intellectual interaction'a design that has catapulted the center to new levels of growth.

Since its completion, the campus has attracted more than 40 experts in international affairs, such as the journalist and vice chair of the United Nations' Global Commission on HIV and the Law, Shereen El Feki. In January 2011, CIGI announced $25 million in funding for a five-year partnership with the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a New York'based think tank founded by George Soros to explore innovations in economics.

Within six months of completion, the campus was one of 12 projects selected for the Royal Institute of British Architects International Award. The design has fast-tracked CIGI's standing as an increasingly respected think tank in global affairs.

KPMB Architects
322 King Street West, Third Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1J2
T: 416-977-5104

Size: 115,000 square feet

Total construction cost: withheld

Completion Date: 2011


Owner: Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)

KPMB Architects
322 King Street West, Third Floor
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1J2
T: 416-977-5104

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Shirley Blumberg (design partner), Steven Casey (project architect), Bruce Kuwabara, Joy Charbonneau, Glenn MacMullin, George Bizios, Erik Jensen, Vivian Chin, Ramon Janer, Carolyn Lee, Danielle Sucher

Interior designer: KPMB Architects

Structural: Blackwell Bowick Partnership
Electrical: Crossey Engineering
Mechanical: HH Angus & Associates
Civil: Conestoga Rovers & Associates

Transsolar (energy), Tillotson Design Associates (lighting), Aercoustics Engineering (acoustics), Engineering Harmonics (audio visual), Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (landscape), GSP Group (planning), Leber | Rubes (building code), Turner & Townsend cm2r (cost), Kaizen Foodservice Planning & Design (food services), Brian Ballantyne Specifications (specifications), Trillium Architectural Products (hardware)

General contractor: Cooper Construction

Tom Arban
Tom Arban Photography

Maris Mezulis, Toronto

CAD system, project management, or other software used: Revit for the tender set, and Autolist during construction administration.



Exterior cladding: Limestone
Entrances: Merit Glass

Metal doors: Trillium

Wood doors: custom

Special doors: Skyfold Partitions

Locksets: various

Closers: various

Exit devices: various

Pulls: various

Security devices: various

Other special hardware: various

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: CGC

Suspension grid: Decoustic Claro

Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore

Solid surfacing: Granitecor- Peribonka Granite

Special surfacing: Diamond decking - Ipe

Floor and wall tile: Stone Tile International – Washroom Tiles

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Moncer – Acacia wood in the Auditorium
Ledgerock- Mara, & Hope Bay Stone

Office furniture: by client

Reception furniture: various

Fixed seating: Irwin Seating Company

Chairs: Emco Navy Chair by Klaus (inside public spaces)

Tables: custom

Other furniture: Fermob – outdoor seating & Tables chairs by Kiosk

Interior ambient lighting: various

Downlights: various

Exterior: Various

Dimming System or other lighting controls: Lutron

Elevators/Escalators: Kone

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Innovative concrete-displacement BubbleDeck system:  reduces the amount of concrete required by 30 percent, while achieving thinner and stronger structural spans.