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Bringing Canada's first mass timber, zero carbon building to life

Centennial College needed project management support for its expansion to address enrollment growth and space utilization issues.

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Centennial College, a community college with five campuses and seven satellite locations, recognized the need to expand its Progress Campus' A Block building to address enrollment growth and space utilization issues.

Bringing Canada's first mass timber, zero carbon building to life

The project would solve anticipated future classroom deficiency and provide suitable infrastructure to support the College's academic initiative to promote active learning and expand its School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science (SETAS) labs.

Recognizing the Indigenous land that the campus resides on and the college's commitment to acknowledging the country's historical injustices, Centennial wanted to build a sustainable gateway structure that embodies Indigenous inclusivity and culture.

The building design inside and out reflects Indigenous values and principles and is based on the concept of "two­ eyed seeing" - merging Indigenous and Western knowledge.

Building on the rapport Colliers developed with Centennial on a previous project, we were brought on in the early planning stages and helped the college establish its goals and requirements. We were responsible for all project procurements, evaluation processes and managing the consultant teams on behalf of the college.

Our services took the project through the design and construction phases, including supporting the complex design requirements to achieve the facility's net zero goals.

The newly constructed six-story complex will be Canada's first mass timber and net zero carbon institutional building, offering approximately 136,000 sq. ft. of new space and over 16,000 sq. ft. of renovated space. Notably, mass timber is an innovation in the industry, in this case involving more than 1,000 individual pieces of locally sourced, cross- and glue-laminated Canadian wood, emitting significantly less carbon than traditional steel or concrete structures. The facility's design will also incorporate WELL, LEED, and net zero carbon elements to ensure its operations produce no emissions.

The building design inside and out reflects Indigenous values and principles and is based on the concept of "two-eyed seeing" - merging Indigenous and Western knowledge. The project features flexible indoor and outdoor learning spaces conducive to Indigenous models of teaching and learning, as well as gathering places for Traditionalists, Elders, citizens of Indigenous Nations and members of Indigenous communities.