Developed for a design-build pursuit submission, Montgomery Sisam, Architecture Counsel and Eastern Construction’s concept for the Durham College Skills Trade Centre Expansion marries student-centered design with innovative construction methods.

Regional changes to industry have precipitated an urgent need to expand and evolve skilled training. In response, Durham College proposed the addition of a new 60,000 square foot facility to expand their Whitby Campus Skilled Training Centre. The facility is to house new classrooms and workshops as well as a fitness centre and café.

Our proposal envisioned a highly flexible gateway building with a strong, clear form that would advance the brand and values of Durham College. Strategic glazing would reveal the animated public spaces within and promote visual connectivity between indoors and outdoors. We proposed to shift the campus’ centre of gravity north to create a new, distinct front door with strengthened pedestrian connections to the wider campus.

A modular structure and building envelope were tailored to the College’s need for a fast-tracked schedule and very short construction window. The building was conceived as three different ‘zones’ – the south zone housing classrooms, the central zone dedicated to workshop functions, and the north zone which combined student amenity and assembly spaces with contract training services. Each zone featured a standardized structural bay size to provide column-free flexible bands of spaces that could be modified over time as needed with minimal effort or expense. This provided the College with incredible flexibility to accommodate changes in pedagogy, programming or enrollment.


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60,000 sq. ft.

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