Canadian Consulting Engineer

Award of Merit: ICT Building

October 1, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Category: BuildingsSTANTEC CONSULTING/EARTH TECH (CANADA)The Information and Communication Technology "ICT" Building at the University of Calgary provides a new home for the departments of Computer Sc...

Category: Buildings


The Information and Communication Technology “ICT” Building at the University of Calgary provides a new home for the departments of Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. The seven-storey, 18,000-m2 structure includes teaching and research laboratories, and office space. The main floor has auditoriums, classrooms and undergraduate student services. Wings of one and two stories link it to the nearby Earth Sciences Building and the Engineering complex.

The building’s distinctive exterior combines tinted glass curtain wall and insulated metal cladding in an architecture that expresses the emerging academic discipline of computer science. The curtain wall also has operable windows to give access to daylight and natural ventilation. These features met the university’s commitment to have a building that is energy efficient and has a high level of environmental quality.

The client also wanted the building to be flexible so that space can be re-shuffled to accommodate rapid changes in technology. The answer was to have an interior of high-performance exposed concrete finish. This feature gave the mechanical engineer, Earth Tech, an opportunity to apply a new structural slab radiant cooling technology. The system is based upon the thermal mass of the concrete structure. It uses chilled water circulated through plastic pipes embedded in the slab. The temperature of the slab is lowered and it cools the space below. In the ICT building a total of 68 kilometres of 16 mm diameter piping was placed in the bottom part of the structural slab.

The structural slab radiant cooling system was augmented by a variable volume air supply system with a reheat capability. The radiant system gives the base cooling, while the air supply system enables the space temperature to be fine tuned — a strategy that is particularly helpful in the building where offices around the perimeter have operable windows. Due to the base load cooling provided by the radiant system, the air supply system and duct sizes were significantly reduced.

To ensure uniform air distribution and to allow the radiant slab cooling to function better, the structural engineers, Stantec, designed a band system for the floor that uses wide but relatively shallow beams to support the slab. The floor structure was analyzed in great detail to meet strict criteria for vibration and deflection, and for the possible adverse effect of having large amounts of cooling pipe embedded in it.

The shallower structural floor system, combined with the smaller air system duct sizes, meant the floor-to-floor height could be reduced and still allow maximum penetration of daylight into the interior. The total reduction in the building height was 2.7 metres, which lowered construction costs.

Two solar chimneys extending the full height of the building use the “stack effect” to provide natural ventilation to all spaces. The air motion is at normal ventilation levels.

Electrically the building was cabled to allow computers to work at “touch down” areas throughout. If the computer and testing laboratories were to be relocated, rewiring would not be required.

The combined engineering effort ensured that the building was more than 25% more energy efficient than the National Model Energy Code and thus qualified for a Natural Resources Commercial Building Incentive program (CBIP) grant. It is also considered to have the equivalent of a Silver rating from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The project was designed using a fast-tracked approach, with schematic design starting in October 1999. It was completed by September 2001, six weeks early, which allowed for commissioning before the start of classes. The final construction cost was $24.3 million, below the $25 million fixed budget.

Name of project: University of Calgary Information and Communication Technology Building

Award-winning firms: Stantec Consulting, Calgary (structural engineer) and Earth Tech Canada, Calgary (mechanical and electrical engineers). Pang Ng., P.Eng., Eric Tromposch, P.Eng., Jim Gilliland, P.Eng., Pak Wong, P.Eng., John Munroe, P.Eng., Paul Ondrik, CET, Brian Lockhart, P.Eng., Michael Hick, Eng.Tech.

Prime consultant: Stantec Architecture

Collaborating architect: HOK Canada

Construction: Ellis Don

Project manager: DMC Resources


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