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Philosophy’s brand-new digs

Facilities Management and the department create more space for big ideas
February 29, 2016
By Elena Raznovan

“The students love this building. It has changed the department in a positive way, and made a big impact on how we work.” Dina Tavares: “The students love this building. It has changed the department in a positive way, and made a big impact on how we work.” | Photos by Concordia University

Caroline Elias, an architect with Concordia’s Facilities Management, walks proudly through the M and S Annexes. She carries a thick binder containing all the architectural details of the Department of Philosophy’s new digs.

Alongside David D’Arcangelo, a project manager with Facilities Management, Elias speaks candidly about the spaces they transformed to meet the needs of the Department of Philosophy.

The department was outgrowing its PR Annex location, and the two professionals wanted to ensure the redesigns and upgrades would permit it to continue to grow smartly and take pride in its location.

Everyone involved in the project, including David Morris, chair of the Department of Philosophy, collaborated enthusiastically throughout the transformation, Elias insists.

“It was clear from the first meeting that, in order to satisfy their curriculum, the department would need larger classrooms and spacious facilities to encourage discussions,” she says.

Morris points out that the new layout lends itself well to studying and one-on-one meetings. Students who need more feedback or supplementary information can now have those conversations in a more private setting.

“Not only do our new spaces invite conversation, but the buildings have a warmth that offers students a cozy, homey feeling,” says Morris. “The spaces are relevant to what we do.”

What impressed Morris was the team’s ability to maintain a lot of the building’s character. “It’s truly incredible how they managed to take a slanted, wobbly staircase and reinforce it, add higher, metal handrails, yet preserve the original look,” he says.

At their core, the buildings were already stunning, Elias says. “Unfortunately, through the years, they were devoid of heavy renovations. This was a great opportunity for us to bring the buildings up to modern building standards and codes, while staying true to the architectural integrity of the structures.”

D’Arcangelo says the project was a real team effort. “Our external partners, Marosi + Troy ArchitectesBouthillette Parizeau mechanical/electrical engineers and NCK structural engineers helped us fulfill our vision of the project. We couldn’t have done it without their expertise.”

Concordia’s interior designer, Anne-Marie Gregory, had a significant role in the selection of new furniture and finishes.

“They asked us what we wanted, and delivered exactly what was needed for the students, but also for the staff and faculty,” says Dina Tavares, assistant to the chair and graduate program in the Department of Philosophy.

Students use and maintain a fully equipped kitchen that also serves as a common meeting space. Staff and faculty also benefit from a new lounge, where they take breaks, have coffee, relax and engage in their own conversations.

“The students love this building,” says Tavares. “It has changed the department in a positive way, and made a big impact on how we work.”

Morris adds that, thanks to the renovation project, the Department of Philosophy now has an atmosphere where students can meet, share ideas and debate comfortably. “I certainly feel that students and faculty have a sense of belonging here.”

Learn more about Concordia’s Department of Philosophy.



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