A key component in a comprehensive facilities development plan for a University with fast-growing undergraduate enrolment, the Cloud building accommodates a mix of academic, faculty and administrative office, student support, and retail/restaurant space. Functioning as a new hub for social activity on campus, the Cloud will support future growth and enhance the strong sense of community on this rural campus situated in a unique natural wooded landscape.
In the course of the development of both the facilities development plan and the design of the Cloud building, Brook McIlroy engaged dozens of staff and faculty members in one-on-one conversations as well as nearly one hundred students representing a number of academic, residence, and social groups. Those consultations informed a comprehensive space program that identified needs for specialized space in several key areas, particularly academic classrooms, seminar rooms, and a large lecture space that embraces new technology-rich teaching pedagogies. The building also addresses deficits in office and student support spaces and introduces revenue-generating retail and restaurant areas to serve both resident and commuter students year-round.
The building is centred on a state-of-the-art 800-seat raked theatre that also serves as a graduation hall and venue for events. The glazed west façade frames spectacular views to the adjacent river and floods the double-height west atrium space with natural light. On the second level, a wood-wrapped classroom cantilevers into the atrium space, while smaller classrooms, seminar rooms, offices, and a multi-faith space flank the central theatre. A skylit east atrium featuring a grove of trees connects the building to a future 500-bed student residence, with adjacent retail, academic, office, and support functions connecting the two ground-floor atria.