The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Campus is located on the site of the former Seagram Distillery, in Waterloo, Ontario, and also houses the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA). The client asked for the campus to last at least 100 years and be a vibrant sanctuary that would allow for reflection, collaboration and discussion. It was evident that the pavers installed must have abilities to handle highpedestrian traffic and prosper an innovative look that contours well with the surrounding environment.
Architecturally the concept revolves around the nature of the spaces, the scale, proportion and materials of the surrounding 19th century industrial neighborhood. The contemporary interpretation of a traditional academic quad building is centered around a generous landscaped courtyard, complete with a stone bell tower. Located adjacent to the CIGI building is an auditorium wing pavilion. This highly transparent pavilion bridges between the 19th century barrel warehouse which acts/functions as the entrance to the CIGI building. The roof of the auditorium dramatically cantilevers toward Erb Street, and accentuates the entry to the academic complex.
The landscaped courtyard is the central focus of the new building. It is enclosed by a glazed cloister with Douglas Fir ceilings and columns, the auditorium pavilion, and a 36 meter water feature. The landscaping uses natural limestone and slate in combination with Unilock’s Umbriano in custom Cream and Slate colors, convincingly designed to mimic natural limestone slabs with slate banding. Umbriano provides special technology, ColorFusion and EasyClean, that enhances the natural granite like appearance and an integral surface protection that allows for easier cleanup of spills – perfect for the high-traffic area. This project has been the recipient of numerous awards including 2013 Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence, 2013 Architectural Record, Good Design is Good Business Competition Winner and most recently the 2014 American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Architecture.