Radical Chic

by michael todd

photography by Mike Ford

At five storeys high, 167,500 square feet and shaped like a cloud, the Lassonde School of Engineering’s new Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence is a bold experiment in architecture, but also a fitting home for a radically new vision of engineering education. Designed by ZAS Architects, it houses York’s recently launched civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs. The futuristic building has been designed to “flip the classroom,” so students will watch their lectures online at home or in a café and come to campus for active learning sessions with professors, classmates and mentors.

Bergeron building interior facing south
The futuristic building has been designed to “flip the classroom”

Even the hallways and elevators are designed for impromptu learning. Covered in whiteboard panels, they offer students and professors constant opportunities for brainstorming. The building also boasts plenty of open-concept space and lounge areas for socializing or studying.

The centre was made possible through a $10 million donation by Doug and Sandra Bergeron. “Their support will give our students the opportunity to explore their passions and gain new perspectives in a home that’s completely different to any engineering school ever built in Canada,” says Janusz Kozinski, Lassonde’s founding dean.  ■


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