With a growing population over one million, Edmonton is the province’s post-secondary destination, teaching nearly 200,000 students each year. Between the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, Concordia University of Edmonton, King’s College, and Norquest, Edmonton is a leader in academics. But one of the city’s shining stars is NAIT. A polytechnic school that offers both technical training and applied education, and the country’s largest apprenticeship school, NAIT’s dedication to being both relevant and responsive to the demands of the Canadian economy has led to almost continual expansion over the last two decades.
The newest addition to the NAIT campus downtown is the Productivity and Innovation Centre. Slated to open this fall, the Productivity and Innovation Centre is designed to connect the school with industry. Designed by GEC Architecture and built by Clark Builders, the Productivity and Innovation Centre’s aesthetic reflects the polytechnic environment, while also intentionally nodding to modernity and industry – even employing materials produced with the same technologies the building houses (like the atrium’s steel panels and the exterior’s concrete cladding). Plus, it’s being built for LEED® certification which will verify that it was designed and built for sustainability, efficiency, and high performance (NAIT’s last campus addition, the Centre for Applied Technologies, was awarded LEED® Gold certification).
And while the stunning design and excellent construction are certainly noteworthy, what’s most distinctive about this building, is its purpose: transforming Alberta’s economy. Because NAIT isn’t just a post-secondary school, it’s a research and training institution that serves Alberta’s industry and works to boost the economy (which is why the federal government pitched nearly $35 million toward this project). The first of its kind, the Productivity and Innovation Centre will be an industry hub for collaboration, connection, and community, uniting NAIT’s industry solutions under one roof and offering an integrated approach to aiding industry partners in becoming globally competitive. Offering technology adoption, product innovation, business innovation and consultation, and industry-driven research in construction, water technologies, distributed energy, advanced manufacturing, and effective resources management as well as flexible spaces for working, training, and events, the Productivity and Innovation Centre is a commercial and institutional project with promise.
Located on the campus’ east side on a triangular site, GEC Architecture designed the 190,000 square foot building to invite the community in with a distinctive street presence. An open to above first floor entrance and two wings of the building are connected by a four-storey, feature atrium – it’s all smooth surfaces, bright light, and wide, open spaces. The Productivity and Innovation Centre is intentionally flexible to accommodate its various functions, but as a whole, it’s designed to encourage cooperation, communication, and creative problem solving. NAIT, by its very nature, drives innovation. By partnering with industry leaders and professionals to research solutions to industry-specific problems, and by creating a building that offers flexible, inviting spaces that bring students, teachers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders together, NAIT is fueling Alberta’s economy.
Clark Builders is currently completing the final touches on this project and we can’t wait to tour it in September, but in the meantime you can take a virtual tour here.
Chad is a partner with NAI Commercial and has finished as a top 15 producer Canada-wide for the past three years. Chad owes his success largely to his commitment to uncompromising client representation, his active involvement in the real estate and business communities and a lifelong pursuit of continuous learning.
Ryan is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton. He is currently ranked nationally as one of NAI’s top advisors in Canada. Having completed his Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance, his eye for detail and great understanding of the numbers associated with any business decision makes him an asset to his clients while providing them the highest level of service.
Darcie began her career in Commercial Real Estate after completing her studies in Business Administration. Her personable nature coupled with a results-driven attitude is a perfect match for customers. Darcie understands the importance of delivering a custom, accountable solution for her clients.
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