Introducing Concordia’s new Science Hub
When the expansion of the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex at Loyola Campus was announced in 2017, there was a palpable sense of anticipation.
After all — the proposed new Science Hub was a decisive step for scientific research at Concordia. Its state-of-the-art facilities will create rare and interesting opportunities for collaboration.
There was also the fact that the $62-million facility looked striking in its architectural renderings by Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes and NFOE; two awardwinning Montreal-based firms with institutional experience and a focus on sustainable development.
“We want to deliver on innovation,” said Graham Carr, Concordia’s provost at the time, and now its president.
Now, in 2020, the Science Hub is ready to launch. Built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the facility is expected to become the fourth high-performance green building at Concordia, with the objective of a LEED Gold certification. Onsite research will include aquatic biology, microscopy, cellular imaging, nanoscience, bioprocessing, and chemical and materials engineering.
The hub will also host science and engineering teams, including work with Concordia’s District 3 Innovation Centre, which requires wet-lab space. It all amounts to a rich environment for learning and research — and not just because of the advanced equipment and collaborative, interdisciplinary spirit.
The area surrounding the hub will be landscaped to improve the campus’s biomass. Some 40 trees will be planted to provide shade and corridors for pedestrians and vehicles; at maturity, their ecological benefits will be six times greater than grass.
“Concordia University has long been committed to the environment and in recent years has made significant contributions to responsible investment and social responsibility,” says Anik Shooner, architect and co-founder of Menkès Shooner Dagenais LeTourneux Architectes. “Our architectural approach was fully aligned with these values.”
The hub’s purpose also enabled Concordia to offer sustainable bonds to institutional investors, which will be used to reimburse the university’s capital investment. This required Concordia to align any work and research with three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, namely: affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and climate action.
As Chief Financial Officer Denis Cossette told the Montreal Gazette a year ago: “The question of sustainability is a high priority for us, so it’s a good message to present to our stakeholders, our students and our community.”
The bottom line on Concordia’s newest building? As Kirsten Sutherland, senior director of project management, says: “The Science Hub will be a next-generation space to foster next-generation education.”
With files from Shannon Baker and Karen McCarthy.