Modular Building Institute

York University Robotics Pavilion

(Click an image below to see enlargement)
Main Category:
Modular Building Design
NRB, Inc.
Mississauga, ON
Building Use:
Robotics Pavilion
Gross Size of Project:
368 Square Feet
Days to complete:

Award Criteria

  1. Architectural Excellence
    Designed in collaboration with University students, this unique Robotics Pavilion was created to generate a definite “wow” factor. The entire two-part pavilion is brightly painted steel with large angled frameless structural glass wall sections. The sharply angled geometric design is referred to as a “switchblade” resembling a half open or fully open switchblade, depending on how the two modules are put together. The robotics lab module has two fully glazed 18’ wide overhead doors, at staggered heights, so when raised together create an open air lab area from which aquatic research robots are sent to a nearby pond. The second module is a transit shelter and an area where students can work quietly outdoors. Interior pot lights were patterned to randomly resemble stars at night, concentrating more light towards one end of the building in the main work area. The building needed to have a smooth uniform appearance on all area surfaces, so even the man doors were frameless.
  2. Technical Innovation & Sustainability
    The sharp geometric angles and structural requirements presented various challenges. The building is structurally framed and finished with smooth welded plate steel on the interior and exterior, which was primed with a rust inhibiting finish and then painted with a UV protective epoxy for durability. The colors were chosen to match the surroundings at the university where the pavilions reside. Because the interiors are as exposed to the elements as the exteriors, all finishes were the same durability. Removable ceiling panels are incorporated seamlessly in the metal finish to allow access to wifi equipment that is mounted within the roof structure. A hollow metal door is used on its side to be pulled down for use as a lab work surface, and when closed, conceals task lighting and electrical receptacles for laptops, etc.
  3. Cost Effectiveness
    The pavilion was designed to be a multi-use building, with the main function of the enclosed portion of the structure to house Robotic teaching lab for experimentation and training for a highly regarded robotics program. Building it off site and transporting and placing in the location needed was the only way to effectively build an on-site lab for their project. Once the professor (who actually owns the pavilions) is done with this project, he can have them moved to any other location to carry on his research. Alternatively, they can be one solid unit or split in to two pieces, with one being an on-campus transit shelter.
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