Celebration 2017: Legacy Project

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2017 was a big year at the University of Waterloo. In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the University and the 150thanniversary of Canada’s confederation, we hosted Celebration 2017, a legacy project that embodies the University of Waterloo’s reputation as a hub for innovation and celebrates Canada’s spirit of diversity and inclusion. 

Celebration 2017 was a one-of-a-kind competition, for a one-of-a-kind University. Built on the successful I3 project that led to the design of the iconic sign at the University Avenue entrance, Celebration 2017 was a year-long, three-stage challenge that saw interdisciplinary teams of Waterloo students compete to design an innovative and creative student space in the centre of our campus.

At the University of Waterloo, students are engaged in our vision of campus space. Through this competition, we encouraged our students to be creative, work alongside their peers, and have pride and ownership for their campus. The University was committed to not just inspiring, but investing in their ideas, with a $10,000 prize to the winning team. And, throughout the year long competition, our students had the support, encouragement and feedback from our entire UWaterloo community.  Fellow students, faculty, staff, alumni, and retirees have all been part of the process, taking part in the project steering committee, jury, providing feedback, and following along with the journey.

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And, like all things they do at Canada’s most innovative University, our students rose to the challenge. 23 teams were narrowed down to 10, then 4, and at the President’s Town Hall on November 14, 2017, the winning concept was unveiled. Team Interlace, made up of Bennett Oh (Engineering), Michael Ahn (Mathematics), and Ian Song (Science), presented a concept that is based on the notion of a micro-chip, an homage to our reputation for excellence in engineering and computer science. But the design goes well beyond the surface, and honours the very essence of what makes the University of Waterloo so special.  We are a network.  Interconnected. Skills and points of view from across six different faculties. Students, staff, and faculty from all across the globe, with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Together, building a system of global impact that will last for decades to come.


On November 3, 2018 the completed winning concept was celebrated in the Arts Quad and enjoyed by the campus community.

About the competition

We asked the top four teams to share what it meant to them to work with fellow students on this legacy project competition. This is their story:

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View the final teams’ individual stories: