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Re-Energizing Carleton’s Residential Precinct

Carleton University Residence Commons Expansion
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

This three-story expansion to an existing 1969 commons building adds energy to Carleton University’s residential precinct.

HOK’s design team studied Carleton’s recent buildings and its nine student residences to explore how the expanded commons building should look, feel and function.

Viewed from the street, the exterior of the new building collides with the existing two-story structure, covering its outdated facade. An eye-catching glazed staircase conceals the loading docks. Inside, the original facade is exposed and connected by a main circulation path that bridges old and new spaces.

The use of brick complements the neighboring student residence buildings, while contemporary metals reflect the materials used in other campus structures. Large windows maximize natural light and create visual connections to the new urban plaza.

The expansion houses all of the food services, including a new 24/7 dining area, for the residential precinct. A multipurpose conference center on the second floor provides meeting space for the university community and can be rented to outside groups.


41,000 sq. ft. / 3,800 sq. m.


Interior Design