National Research Council Mississauga – Advanced Materials Research Facility shines light on Innovation

The NRC Mississauga project is intended to be a unique facility that will act as a focal point for the development of high-performance advanced materials and manufacturing processes. The envelope of the facility needed to meet the challenge of providing access to natural daylight for the researchers while exhibiting strict glare / solar control with a high level of thermal performance.

The NRC Mississauga Advanced Materials Research Facility was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. The project is located within the Sheridan Science and Technology Park in Mississauga, Ontario. The new building will accommodate Laboratories (characterization, clean-room high bay, dry, and wet), Offices (enclosed, open, free address), Support Spaces (meeting rooms, kitchens, equipment areas), and Loading / Waste Management / Flammable / Chemical areas.

The building exterior consists of horizontal precast concrete panel cladding with tall vertical curtain wall fenestration between the floor slabs. Vertical precast fins are placed at each vertical curtain wall mullion to provide solar shading and light dispersion into the interior.

Diamond Schmitt Architects knew they needed a special glazing product that could deliver the performance objectives, while taking advantage of the buildings height to deliver natural daylight deep into the interior of the space. With daylighting in mind, Eric Lucassen recalls exploring the idea of using vision glass. “We needed glare control for this space because of the tall window design. We decided to use a combination of vision glass and translucent daylighting to accomplish our performance goals and provide occupants with both exterior views and glare free natural daylight."

During the design process, Eric Lucassen, Senior Associate of Diamond Schmitt Architects worked with the technical team at Advanced Glazings Ltd. to model and review various daylighting options and their impact on the interior spaces. The daylighting model was also used in producing renderings of the anticipated interior light levels within the different spaces.

Using the daylighting model, Diamond Schmitt Architects were able to predict the impact contrast and glare would have in the interior spaces if only vision glass was used to deliver natural daylight. Eric had used Solera® in previous projects including the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Health Centre and was familiar with its daylighting management and performance capabilities, and thought it might be a good fit for this facility. “Solera® could take advantage of the high ceilings allowing us to place a combination of vision glass for views and Solera for contrast, glare control and to fully harvest natural daylight into the laboratories and office areas” says Eric. The enclosed offices located in the center of the building footprint also benefited from natural daylight due to Solera®’s ability to diffuse and deliver natural daylight deep into the interior of the space - allowing natural daylight to reach almost all areas of the facility.

The laboratories in this advanced materials research facility were a top priority for Diamond Schmitt because they required a proven daylighting solution that delivered controlled natural daylighting free of contrast and glare. During the daytime, “the interior lighting doesn’t even need to be on” says Eric. In addition to Solera®, precast concrete fins were used to provide added glare control to the interior spaces. The design team worked with the sustainability consultant to help create the ideal combination of natural light and glare control to ensure the facility had every daylighting advantage for researchers. “This new facility provides exceptional access and control of natural daylight into the laboratory and office spaces. As a result, we expect the level of comfort and productivity of the users to be increased”, says Eric.

Advanced Glazings Ltd. is proud Solera® was included in the NRC Mississauga facility. We look forward to working with Diamond Schmitt Architects again in the future to create more beautiful and naturally daylighted buildings.

Photography Credits: © Tom Arban Photography Inc.