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Pavilion Desmarais Building

This extraordinary 12-story structure will provide Ottawa University with much-needed space for lecture theatres, classrooms, offices and student meeting space. It will be home to the Faculty of Social Sciences and to the School of Management, most notably the new School of Political Studies.

Mr. Paul G. Desmarais, a renowned Canadian and international businessman and alumnus of the University of Ottawa will see his and his family’s contributions to the University recognized with the naming of the Pavilion Desmarais Building, a new flagship building for Canada’s university. The naming marks a contribution of $15 million to the “Campaign for Canada’s university” University of Ottawa by Mr. Paul G. Desmarais, who is one of Canada’s most successful businessmen, as well as an honorary co-chair of the Campaign for Canada’s university.

The construction of the new building on the former parking lot bounded by Laurier Avenue, Waller Street, and Nicholas Street, in downtown Ottawa, began in September 2005. The budget for this project was set at $76.2 million. The Pavilion Desmarais Building was opened in September 2007 in time for the fall university semester.

“It’s the first public building that you see on campus, and it is a building that is seen from a lot of roadways. We designed this building to be seen from the car as well as the pedestrian,” said Jason Moriyama, the design architect, a partner with Moriyama & Teshima Architects. “We also tried to tie it into the urban context.”

On a lot of 41,800 sq m, the building has a two-level parking garage with 136 parking spaces and seven floors of offices and classrooms. The total area of the building is 23,015 sq m.

The ground floor has seven lecture theatres with a total seating of 710. The second floor houses computer labs and undergraduate classrooms. The third, fifth, sixth, and seventh floors are reserved for office space. The fourth floor is a mix of classrooms and office space. The building also has dedicated MBA teaching rooms and a large multipurpose hall.

A precast concrete cladding with limestone accents was chosen to evoke other heritage limestone buildings on campus. In all, 462 architectural precast concrete insulated wall panels covering an area of 5200 sq m were applied to the exterior of the building. The surface texture was achieved using white aggregate in a buff matrix exposed by light-medium sandblasting.

"Architectural precast cladding was the ideal choice for the University of Ottawa's new Desmarais Building, said Jason Moriyama. “The material gave the project a sense of mass and presence within the busy urban context, while being sensitive to the colour and material palette of the neighbouring historic buildings. The precast wall panels were economical and efficient to install on a construction site surrounded by two major arterial streets and the main OC Transpo transitway. The panels were formed along the gentle curved geometry of the site complete with an integrated window sill and head detail."

The precast panels were designed as non-composite sandwich walls, 290 mm thick, with 90 mm of rigid insulation for a total R value of 21. The complete exterior walls, including the exterior finish and integral insulation, were manufactured in the precast plant under controlled conditions. The rigid interior wythe resists all loads on the panel and remains at the interior temperature of the building year round. Joints between panels have two-stage joint seals vented to the exterior to provide the necessary air and vapour barriers and to prevent wind driven rain from entering the building.

Many of the precast panels follow the building’s curve that gives the building its majestic appeal. The constant curvature of the exterior shape of the building simplified the formwork. Many of the panels were able to be economically manufactured using the same molds.

Logistics to erect the panels for the project were quite challenging as the construction site had high volumes of car, truck and bus traffic. With limited space and a strict schedule, the installation of the 462 panels was completed in only 65 working days.

Owner: University of Ottawa
Architect: Moriyama & Teshima Architects
Structural Engineer: Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited
Mechanical Engineer: Stantec
Project Manager: MHPM Project Managers Inc.
General Contractor: Pomerleau
Architectural Precast Concrete: SARAMAC Inc.

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