Lazaridis Centre honoured with architectural award

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre (Lazaridis Centre) at the University of Waterloo was selected for the Design Excellence Award by the Ontario Architects Association (OAA).

The annual OAA Awards program celebrates the architectural innovation and design of Ontario architects, students and interns.  After narrowing 140 submissions, 20 finalists were announced for the Design Excellence Award March 6. Today, the Lazaridis Centre and its Toronto-based designers, KPMB Architects, were announced as the winners.

Constructed to the most stringent scientific standards — including controls for vibration, temperature, humidity, electromagnetic radiation and more — the Lazaridis Centre enables quantum information and nanotechnology research at the highest international level.

Exterior of the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre
It was also built to the highest architectural standards of design, with every decision about structural and aesthetic design driven by a purpose. The Quantum NanoFab facility, for example, was built upon a foundation separate from the rest of the building to minimize vibrations to no greater than one micron of movement. The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) half of the building with its vertical windows of varying reflectivity and transparency signifies quantum superposition, while the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) half with its honeycomb steel lattice represents the structure of graphene, a building block of nanotechnology. Together, the two unique yet complementary halves create a striking presence on the University of Waterloo campus.

Thousands came to see the Lazaridis Centre for its grand opening September 21, 2012, and for the Doors Open event held shortly after, including some high-profile guests.

“[Waterloo] is special for many reasons, including its collaborative culture, its research excellence, its philanthropic visionaries, and its leadership in post-secondary education. The Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre showcases each of these qualities in the context of this building’s architectural genius," said theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking at the grand opening.

The $160 million building was created with the support of Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada.