Energy Environment Experiential Learning / Perkins+Will + DIALOG

  • 09 Apr 2013
  • Educational Selected Works
© Tom Arban

Architects: Perkins+Will + DIALOG
Location: , AB, Canada
Area: 24,531 sqm
Year: 2011
Photographs: Tom Arban

Owner: The University of Calgary
Construction Management: Ellis Don Construction
Project Managers: DukeEvans Inc..

© Tom Arban

Located at the University of Calgary, the Energy. Environment. Experiential. Learning (EEEL) building is a five-storey, 24,531 sm undergraduate teaching facility that allows students to learn in an experiential and hands-on environment. Imagined as a building that ‘connects the dots’, EEEL is sited on the northern edge of the campus and links together a series of previously disconnected buildings.

© Tom Arban

EEEL contains approximately 11,000 sm of teaching laboratories and 2,500 sm of classroom and seminar space. Area is also provided for up to 3,000 sm of future research labs. The structural module and arrangement of the building systems allows the university long-term flexibility to convert spaces efficiently from one use to another.


Placing a large emphasis on informal learning, the building centres around a ‘social stair’ that facilitates interaction and interdisciplinary collaboration. In keeping with the goal to put ‘science on display’, EEEL includes undergraduate classrooms and labs that are fully glazed to the corridor beyond to encourage curiosity and engage passersby.

© Tom Arban

The project incorporates a number of solar control strategies, such as sculpted aluminum spandrel panels that act as an effective solar collector and disperser, and solar shutters that actively track the sun to provide fully daylit but glare-free interior spaces. Additional environmental strategies include the use of thermal mass, an efficient envelope, natural ventilation, earth tubes, and low-energy systems, which contribute to the project using 45% less energy compared to a conventional laboratory building.  Low-flow fixtures and use of captured rain water mixed with recycled process water for toilet flushing reduces potable water use by 64%. As a means to record building performance and lower operating costs, all energy related metrics have post-occupancy data collection through the building’s BMS system.

© Tom Arban

One of the most energy-efficient laboratory buildings in North America, EEEL is one of only 29 buildings across Canada to achieve LEED Platinum certification, with only four of those buildings on Canadian university or college campuses.

Ground Floor Plan

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Energy Environment Experiential Learning / Perkins+Will + DIALOG" 09 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Stephen

    Hey look – a box. Let’s stick some shiny things onto it.

    If we architects really can’t stop making dumb boxes and gluing technology to them, then the public really should be losing trust in what we do. I’ve been to this building and watched it go up. TRuly sad that it’s on this blog.

    It’s not architecture. It’s just “some building”. With a LEED sticker.

    • Patrick H

      Yes, the overall massing is uninspired. However, that is often beyond the architect’s control. The client, the city, the bankers… Lots of stakeholders want to build the most efficient structure possible… which is usually a box. Within those constraints, the architect does his/her best to bring some beauty, sustainability, inspiration, etc. But to dismiss the entire profession based on this one box seems a bit extreme. (And incidentally, this blog publishes every project that is submitted, they don’t make editorial cuts or judgements.)