This project included renovation work for the University of Toronto’s Department of Engineering. The existing structures laboratory was transformed to include a new Rock Fracture Dynamics Laboratory, housing a $1.2 million rock fracture testing bed, seminar and meeting space, research stations and a dedicated server room.
The reworking of the existing laboratory building to create a new facility also answered the department chairman’s need to present a visible image of engineering research to prospective donors and students. The use of transparent materials produce an exciting overlap of space and use. It allows research to be a visible activity within the faculty and to display both pure and applied research as it happens. The demanding technical requirements of this project included the coordination of digital and electrical servicing to enable remote destructive testing and monitoring of material samples.
A new foundation was required under the testing bed, both to carry the weight of the instrument, but also to isolate it from building vibration. A new dedicated cooling system for the test facility and server room was required, necessitating installation of refrigerant lines from the space of work to the roof five floors away. The work was undertaken while keeping the structure testing laboratory in operation.