Sir Sandford Fleming College – Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre
The Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre (KTTC) was established in 2014 as a central part of the Sir Arthur Fleming college in Peterborough, Ontario. Designed by architects Perkins + Will, the $42 million project used innovative design to leverage campus and community interest in the skilled trades and training programs.
Aligned with the main north-south axis of the campus, the building is conceived as a new gateway, inviting pedestrian movement from the student residences and Sport and Wellness Centre (also designed by Shore Tilbe Perkins+Will in 2002) to the north. The guiding vision behind the project is the idea of exploring new pathways to learning and the conviction that ‘learning can happen anywhere’. A state-of-the-art facility, Fleming College integrates theoretical learning with applied practice in a manner that emphasizes visibility and inter-disciplinary inclusiveness.
The 87, 000 sq. ft. multi-level learning center is illuminated by natural light, exposed structural components and open spaces, creating ideal grounds for learning and collaboration – proponents that Perkins + Will find integral to noble design. A series of flexible spaces, including a large ‘learning factory’ allow each trade to work collaboratively within one large floor space. Within this space an innovative 4 storey teaching ‘cube’ provides a flexible framework for electrical and plumbing installations and a more direct simulation of actual site conditions. Serving this space, are a series of dedicated workshops, SMART classrooms, and interactive student and office spaces that support a wide range of services and programs; all supported with wireless access, flexible integrated services and reconfigurable layouts. Fostering the visibility of students working in the bustling commons area below, the facility emulates a real-world construction site and promotes the cross-pollination of ideas, while simultaneously providing the technological tools needed for the traditional teaching above.
The KTTC also incorporates aesthetic details that appeal to students of varying demographics, who may wish to get involved in the trades, effectively shattering the gendered divide that is often seen in the skilled trade sector. Targeting a Gold LEED certification, the KTTC building challenges the perceptions of what skilled trade training facilities look like and serves as first-hand inspiration for the students enrolled.
The building engages its setting by partially burying its lower floor along the east side and carving out a large sunken courtyard along this face connected to the lower workshop zone. Along the opposite side of the building facing the woodlot, the lower floor aligns with the existing grade enabling unobstructed access into the main project spaces.
A cladding of black cement board, natural concrete, cedar, Corten steel and generous glazing, reinforces this connection to the site creating a combination of rich natural tones and patinated surfaces that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
Using wood accenting at the front entrance allows the facility to merge with the existing landscape in a way that is natural and uplifting. The rich cedar introduces neutral tones which are continued through the facility, providing an unobtrusive, yet eye-catching design.