Honorable Mention - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for a New Building

Wilfrid Laurier University

Lazaridis Hall
Wilfrid Laurier University - Lazaridis Hall
Jury Comments
“. . . small college doing a big project . . . really strong architectural image . . . extremely attractive addition to the campus . . . this is a compelling building . . .”


    • Site – 3.82 acres; Building – 226,000 gsf / 118,130 asf
    • LEED Gold
    • The day lit atrium is lined with informal study lounge space and projecting breakout rooms on all levels.
    • The visual simplicity of the cantilevered space above the 1000-seat elliptical auditorium and the hovering two-story, 300-seat lecture hall drum that appears to float above a glass-encased café belies the underlying complexity of this hybrid steel and concrete building.
    • A fully glazed ground floor with a calibrated series of ramps and stairs conveys a sense of openness and accessibility.


Lazaridis Hall is the new home of the School of Business and Economics, Mathematics, and related programs. The school’s mandate is to develop academic and community leaders with management and economics skills for a complex and changing global environment. The design brief was to craft a signature building that serves as a gateway for the university.

Lazaridis Hall reframes this inward-looking campus with a new urbanity and profile. The building bridges the physical divide across University Avenue from the main campus, signals the start of a new campus precinct, and provides much-needed gathering spaces surrounding the building and within. Versatile and generously spaced, the building functions as a crossroads and provides a new heart for campus life.

The concept design began as two buildings, one for faculty and administration and one student-oriented. The planning consultations at the schematic design stage took the project down several unexpected paths. There was a new interest in breaking down silos by mixing academic, faculty and administration throughout, which resulted in one unified building with an open courtyard within budget. An alternative was priced for enclosing the courtyard to better serve the campus with much needed student space. Additional funds were found for this final design of a large atrium building.

As the first building of a new campus precinct, Lazaridis Hall anticipates further development by creating a clear mid-block connection from the entrance through to the north side. The design serves a variety of functions, including academic program delivery, 240 faculty and administration offices, gathering and peer learning areas for the entire campus, a multi-purpose auditorium, and seasonal conference agenda.

Project Team

Diamond Schmitt Architects; also David Thompson Architect Ltd.; VanBoxmeer & Stranges Engineering Ltd.; Smith + Andersen; MTE Consultants Inc.; DTAH; Bondfield Construction Company Limited; WSP (formerly MMM / Enermodal)