President's Advisory Committee on Design

Chair: Jacinda Reitsma, vice-president, administration & finance

Terms of reference and membership

1. Introduction

The University of Waterloo is committed to creating and maintaining high standards in its physical environment. Excellence in design reinforces excellence in teaching and research. Excellence in design enriches the quality of the educational experience for the entire university community.

​​The campus grounds and buildings should be ecologically responsible, functional, efficient, and safe. Equally important, the physical environment should be visually and intellectually stimulating. Outstanding architecture and design, at every scale, are understood to be important components of university life.

To ensure that decisions regarding campus planning, landscape design, architecture, signage, interior design, and other design matters are made in an informed and innovative manner, the President's Advisory Committee on Design makes recommendations to the president who, in turn, takes these recommendations to the Building & Properties Committee of the Board of Governors.

2. Membership

The President's Advisory Committee on Design shall consist of seven members, each serving a three-year term. Appointments should be staggered to ensure continuity and renewal. The president serves as an ex officio member of the committee.

The composition of the committee is:

  1. The vice-president, administration & finance (chair).

  2. The president of the university (ex officio).

  3. the director, maintenance & utilities

  4. the director, design & construction services / university architect

  5. The director, School of Architecture (or delegate).

  6. The president of the Federation of Students (one-year term).
  7. Two members from the university community having expertise in design, appointed by the president.

When issues arise regarding the affiliated and federated institutions of Waterloo (AFIW) or requiring particular consultation or expertise, the chair can invite individuals to participate in committee meetings.

3. Duties

The primary charge of the committee is to review proposed construction, renovation, landscape, interior design, and public art projects. In this role, the committee's responsibility lies in the consideration of a project's design merits and its effect on the existing campus environment. It is particularly important for the committee to make decisions that take into account the mandate of the university; the evolution of campus planning, architecture, and design at the University of Waterloo since the founding of the institution in 1957; and the long-range goals of any master plan which is operative at the time decisions are being made.

The committee's specific duties include those related to University of Waterloo property and those related to AFIW properties:

A. University of Waterloo property

  • Review all new construction, renovation, landscape, interior design, and public art projects costing in excess of $500,000.

  • Participate directly in the selection process for the appointment of external design professionals (planners, architects, landscape architects, signage designers, interior designers, etc.) for projects costing in excess of $500,000. There are three basic methods of selection: a) direct selection, b) comparative selection, and c) design competitions (limited or open). Whenever possible, design competitions will be the preferred mode of selection. Individuals or firms with national recognition should normally be appointed and, in the case of a major/significant project, an internationally-recognized designer(s) should be engaged for the work.

  • Review construction, renovation, landscape, interior design, and public art projects costing less than $500,000, if, in the opinion of the committee chair or a majority of the committee members, the project warrants consideration.

  • Review and consider the placement of exterior public art, monuments, bridges, fountains, plaques, and the like.

  • Invite other experts to consult with the committee as deemed necessary for specific projects.

  • In general, monitor the physical ambiance of the campus and make appropriate recommendations thereto.

  • Present an annual report, summarizing the committee's activities, to the Building & Properties Committee.

B. Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo properties

On 19 June 1961, the University of Waterloo and the four colleges of St. Jerome's, Renison, St. Paul's, and Conrad Grebel finalized an agreement outlining a program for the development of lands for the construction of teaching, administrative, and student residence buildings. Included in the agreement were covenants intended to create harmony and commonalty among the five campuses by requiring the University of Waterloo to approve changes to the colleges' external physical environments.

A list of procedures for external AFIW projects (of any budget amount) should be obtained from University of Waterloo Plant Operations.

Upon completion of conceptual design and design development stages, the institution shall submit appropriate drawings to the Advisory Committee on Design for review and approval.

Approved 12 April 1994.
Updated September 1997 (titles only).
Updated June 1999 (added president, Federation of Students, and reduced president's appointees to two).
Updated March 2014 (titles only).