Diamond Schmitt leads $33-million trades facility expansion

Okanagan College chose architectural firm Diamond Schmitt Architects to design the $33-million Kelowna trades facility expansion.

Okanagan College will be working with one of the nation’s most renowned architectural firms after selecting Diamond Schmitt Architects to lead the design of the $33-million Kelowna trades facility expansion.

Based in Toronto, Diamond Schmitt is a full-service architectural firm that specializes in sustainable design.

The firm has managed projects for some of Canada’s top post-secondary institutions.

Public projects of note include the Ryerson Image Centre and School of Image Arts, the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering, Queen’s University’s School of Medicine and the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation at the Banff Centre.

“It is exciting to partner with an architectural firm with the depth of experience and knowledge that Diamond Schmitt brings to the table,” said Bob Eby, vice-president of finance and administration for Okanagan College.

“They are well known for their innovative sustainable design solutions and have developed some very exciting initial concepts for our project.”

“We and our partners at David Nairne + Associates look forward to working collaboratively with Okanagan College to create a highly sustainable facility that is responsive to and anticipates the needs of students, faculty and the community,” added Donald Schmitt, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Diamond Schmitt has designed numerous LEED Gold and Platinum facilities and pioneered the commercial application of the biofilter living wall—a technology that uses tropical plants to lower VOCs, energy costs, and reduces demand on mechanical systems.

In addition to eliminating pollutants, the living walls are also aesthetically striking.

The opportunity to work with Okanagan College garnered significant interest from firms across the country.

The college is being recognized as a national leader in green building design after successfully completing projects such as the LEED Gold Centre for Learning in Kelowna and most recently, the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design and Renewable Energy Conservation—a project that is seeking Living Building status from Canada’s Green Building Council.

The college’s project steering committee made the final decision on the contract after an extensive review of interested firms.

The next step in the design process will be a charrette, which will engage employees, students and members of the community in an interactive series of consultations.

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