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60+ Years of Design + Innovation

An Award-Winning Lab Renovation for One of
Canada's Leading Universities

Carleton University Steacie Building Chemistry SuperLab
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

“The old labs were rather dreary-looking, and it was difficult to convince a prospective student that their experience here would be as good as that at a university that had new labs. Labs are so important to science students that they often decide on which university to attend based on the facilities. The SuperLab is simply beautiful to look at, so potential students are immediately impressed.”

Robert Burk, PhD
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry

This laboratory renovation for one of Canada’s finest academic institutions earned a Lab of the Year Special Mention Award from R&D Magazine.

The magazine noted that the design “converted a dreary-looking chemistry lab at Carleton University into a large, exciting, colorful teaching lab that brings new life and increased enrollment possibilities to the university.”

The design challenge was to adapt and reuse an existing facility that had not been significantly updated since its original construction in 1964 – and to do it in time for the upcoming academic year.

The renovation upgraded the maximum number of students from 96 to 120 while improving safety. The new SuperLab design stripped away existing shear walls and consolidated the four existing labs into open teaching modules.

In the first year after the SuperLab opened, the chemistry department’s enrollment increased by 10 percent. The project was delivered on time and 20 percent under budget.

HOK was architect of record, with Morrison Hershfield as prime consultant.


14,500 sq. ft. / 1,350 sq. m.


Laboratory Planning


R&D Magazine – Lab of the Year Special Mention


Reduction in cost, compared to original budget


Increase in enrollment in the year after the lab was completed