Monday, November 5, 2007

  • Construction plans get board approval
  • The eight-foot box in the art gallery
  • Still welcoming United Way gifts
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Remember, remember

When and where

QPR suicide prevention training available 12:00 to 1:30; future sessions November 12, December 10; to register call ext. 33528.

Health studies and gerontology professor Christina Mills, "A Pedestrian Charter for a Healthier Waterloo", 12:00 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch.

In the Mind's Eye 'issues of substance use' forum presents films "The Kensington Bus Tour" and "Fix", 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge campus.

Leadership and communication workshop organized by speech communication students, Tuesday 7:30 to 9:00 p.m., capacity 20, register by e-mail

Instructional development grants application deadline is Wednesday, details online.

Free noon-hour concert: Oni Buchanan, piano, "Moonlight Recital", Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Safety Awareness Day Wednesday, sessions from 10:00 to 3:00, Davis Centre, sessions on inspecting the workplace, home and work fire safety, conducting work-specific WHMIS training, and gas cylinder safety, details online.

Women in Engineering Committee presents Naz Ritchie, CH2M Hill Ltd., "The Changing Face of Environmental Engineering: A Woman's Perspective", Wednesday 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 211, preregister online.

Operation Wallacea information session about opportunities next summer in the coral reefs of Honduras, rainforest of Indonesia and other world locations, Wednesday 3:00 p.m., Needles Hall room 1116, more information online or e-mail

New Brunswick playwright and poet Robert Moore reads form his work Wednesday 4 p.m., St. Jerome's University room 3027.

Management sciences department information session about graduate studies, Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00, Carl Pollock Hall room 4335.

Perimeter Institute presents John Ellis, CERN, and Robert S. Orr, University of Toronto, "The Large Hadron Collider, World's Most Powerful Microscope", Wednesday 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information online.

The New Quarterly launch of fall issue with performance of "Journey Behind the Mask" by Theatre Beyond Words, Wednesday 7:30 p.m., Registry Theatre, Kitchener, tickets $20, ext. 28290.

'He(R)evolution', one-act play by Julia Grob, stated by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group and Action for Health in the Americas, Wednesday 8 p.m., Studio 180, Humanities building.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: "Using the Case Study Approach to Challenge High-Achieving Students", Thursday 12 noon, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library, register by e-mail CTE@admmail.

Earth and environmental sciences presents Charles Lin, atmospheric science and technology directorate, Environment Canada, and David Kendell, Canadian Space Agency, speaking on research in their agencies, Thursday 1:30, CEIT room 3142; reception and open house follows in CEIT museum lobby, to celebrate the department's new name.

Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing expansion and major gift announcement Thursday 2 p.m., Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School, by invitation.

DesignCamp Waterloo for professional and student digital designers, Thursday 2:00 to 7:00, Student Life Centre great hall, details online.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session, Thursday 4:00, Accelerator building, suite 240, 295 Hagey Boulevard, registration ext. 37106.

Young alumni networking event Thursday 6:00, The Bier Markt, 58 The Esplanade, Toronto, registration deadline November 2.

Ivory Tower Blues: James Côté and Anton Allahar, University of Western Ontario, speak about their new book on Canadian and American universities, Thursday 7:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 105.

Conrad Grebel University College presents the Sawatsky Lecture: Royden Loewen, University of Winnipeg, "Poetics of Peoplehood: Mennonite Ethnicity and Mennonite Faith in Canada", Thursday 7:30 p.m., Grebel great hall.

UW Retirees Association fall luncheon Tuesday, November 13, 11:30, Hauser Haus, Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, tickets $25.

2007 Hagey Lecture: astronaut Roberta Bondar, "What Space Medicine Teaches Canadians About Life on Earth", November 14, 8:00, Humanities Theatre, admission free.

Winterfest, annual staff association event for families, Sunday, December 9, 1:00 to 3:00, Columbia Icefield, ticket deadline November 7, details online.

One click away

National Post coverage of UW's MBET program
CNN coverage of World Solar Challenge, with photo of UW team
Coroner's verdict: student was killed by wolves
'Gearing up for Feds elections'
'Using the Internet for education purposes' (Stats Canada)
Site offers 'virtual tours' of 20 Canadian universities
Young Canadians advise on 'unlocking innovation'
WSIB site on preventing musculoskeletal disorders at work
WLU launches career program for students with disabilities
This year's 'best places to work in academia'
'Pathways from education to the labour market among Canadian youth' (Stats Canada)
Three engineers and an arts grad offer online travel planning
Three alumni among Oktoberfest women of the year
Webcam shows construction at Queen's U

[Building towers above the railway line]
Construction plans get board approval

UW continues to expand by adding new buildings for teaching and research, and the university’s board of governors dealt with several aspects of construction and development during its fall meeting last Tuesday.

The buildings and properties committee chair, local real estate agent Mary Bales, presented several projects that were given board approval. Following a report from planning consultant Joe Berridge, the university adopted a "West Campus Master Plan," which covers a tract of 185 acres on the north campus on the Fischer-Hallman Road side. The new plan arises from an agreement between UW and the city that approved UW leasing lands for a library and YMCA (near the Laurelwood Drive intersection on Fischer-Hallman) and several playing fields along Westmount Road, in exchange for servicing the city would provide on the south portion of these lands.

The west campus plan is an outgrowth of meetings and consultations, including a public open house, that provided a blueprint for further development.

Berridge noted that the university's south campus, where most of its teaching, research, administrative and residence buildings currently exist, can still accommodate more facilities, likely for another 20 years at current growth rates. Much of that expansion would take place on what are now surface parking lots, he said. He added that "if we get an LRT (Light Rapid Transit) line, that will provide for a lot of accessibility for campus."

That transit line, said Ken Seiling, the chair of Waterloo Region, is close to getting full funding (with two-thirds of the budget committed by the provincial government already), and could be a reality in "four to five years." Parking garages could also be in UW's future as surface parking space shrinks, the board was told. Berridge said that possibility grows as parking lots are gobbled up for building construction over the next 20 years.

The board also approved the anticipated new Engineering V building, a six-storey structure (pictured above) to be constructed on B parking lot beside East Campus Hall. The $48-million project has been designed by architects Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners. The first two floors will feature space for various student projects, including many automotive design programs like the Midnight Sun solar car. The four upper floors will accommodate much needed office and teaching space. A pedestrian bridge will connect across the railway tracks to Engineering III.

The board spent a few minutes discussing the question of whether enough lounge and interaction space was being designed into new buildings. Faculty representative James Skidmore, of the Germanic and Slavic department, said many buildings have lost such space and there is a noticeable scarcity across campus. He said it’s increasingly difficult to find space where students, faculty and staff can just lounge, eat their meals or interact. Bales said this lack had not been raised as an issue to date, but the committee would look at whether it’s a widespread problem and what can be done about it.

The university’s Health Sciences Campus at the corner of King and Victoria Streets in downtown Kitchener will also see expansion soon. Already the School of Pharmacy’s new building is rising steadily and will be ready for partial occupancy next spring. The board gave approval for two tenders to be issued for the next phase of health sciences construction, with a budget set at $21.5 million. That’s a $1.5 million increase for the project based on a slightly higher than anticipated cost as reflected in the lowest approved tender. The Regional Municipality of Waterloo has already approved a $15 million grant towards the cost.

Other building project updates from Tuesday’s meeting:

  • Berridge and his firm Urban Strategies have been retained to do a “signage and way-finding” study of the Research and Technology Park north of Columbia Street.
  • The School of Accountancy building budget has increased by $438,432, allowing for a full fitting out of the new facility, now under construction as an addition to Hagey Hall. The additional funds will come from graduate enrolment expansion.
  • The School of Optometry expansion is well under way, with construction being done by Bondfield Construction Ltd.; project cost of $8,976,000 (plus net GST) is below the original approved construction budget of $11.07 million.

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The eight-foot box in the art gallery

Render, the UW art gallery, explains its current “Pavilion Project” through a news release and its web site

The Render Pavilion is the result of a significant collaboration between Render and the School of Architecture. Developed through a two part design/build graduate seminar led by Andrew Hunter (Render director/curator) in the winter and spring terms of 2007, the Pavilion Project challenged senior level graduate students to design and construct a unique programming structure to be used within Render’s main space by visiting artists, curators, researchers and students.

The pavilion ("Monolith") was designed by graduate students Josh Bedard, Lisa Hirmer, Gabriel Li, Alex Kolbas, Aaron Nelson, Farid Noufaily, Tiffany Tosheff and Jonathan Wong in response to the existing architecture of the gallery, aspects of the Render program and issues critical to the contemporary gallery/museum (such as formats of production/display, storage, public interaction and new media, for example).

The Pavilion Project represents a significant component of Render’s new emphasis on collaborations with other departments on campus, integrating students more fully into the program and shifting the focus from the exhibition of finished works to using the gallery as a space of presentation, production and experimentation. The School of Architecture has emerged as a key Render collaborator and the Pavilion Project is a model for current and future programs.

The team were charged with conceiving of a flexible studio/media lab that would occupy the main exhibition space inside "that dull grey building on the other side of the tracks." In addition to addressing functional and programmatic requirements, a principal concern was the problem of how the pavilion engages the gallery-goer, the artist-in-residence, and the facility itself in a visceral, spatially dynamic, and materially tactile relationship.

Monolith employs the languages of building construction and industrial design as a means to discussing and disclosing the traditional notion of architecture-as-making, while simultaneously exploring the more unstable terrain of new media art installation as exemplified by the Render program mandate.

In its closed state the pavilion appears exactly as its title would imply: a nearly solid block having dimensions of an eight-foot cube. In its open state — which entails one to first locate and than pry apart two seams on opposing sides — the pavilion springs to life. Contained within the hermetic "toolbox" are found various implements, surfaces and spaces for a fully functioning studio, divided into three individual modules. The modules are elevated on casters and connected by heavy duty hinges, thereby allowing for multiple spatial configurations within the gallery. Each unit as such is dedicated to a different type of work: Digital media (computer station, projector, monitor); Fabrication (work surface, tool storage); and Writing and Research (fold-down table, stackable stools, shelving).

More than simply utilitarian, however, Monolith can be regarded as an object that exists on the gallery floor in its own right. Its twin personae, embodied in such binary gestures as open/shut, expose/hide, reveal/conceal, betray an historical reference to the cabinet of curiosities, that domestic treasure chest kept for the display of marvelous things and which were themselves objects of delectation. The characteristic “mysterious” quality which invites (cautious) curiosity is further emphasized by the pale glow that leaks out between the narrow slits whenever the cabinet is closed. Less intimate, perhaps, are the starkly uniform exterior plywood panels that have been charred black with a torch and then sealed with resin. At a distance the visual impression is one of impenetrable dark; up close the crackled and crevassed texture of burnt pine articulates a quivering silver skin that has transformed the surface into fur.

The build team for the project included Kyle Anderson, Josh Bedard, Eric Boyko, Kelly Lam, Gabriel Li, Aaron Nelson, Goran Sudetic, Tiffany Tosheff, Jonathan Wong and Alana Young. Publication design is by Lisa Hirmer (an illustrated publication documenting the project is forthcoming). Web design is by Alex Kolbas.

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Still welcoming United Way gifts

October is over, but the money is still trickling in from across campus for the United Way campaign, and goodness knows local agencies still need it. So the campaign, which began October 1, is continuing, says Stacey Ritzer from the United Way office in the Davis Centre. At the end of the week, givings had reached $146,500, which is still short of this year's $170,000 goal, she noted. "New UW United Way posters are being spread across campus to help encourage more donations and bring in the last 14% of our goal." Anybody whose pledge form may have gone wandering over the past few weeks can certainly get another one by calling Ritzer at ext. 33840. Meanwhile, the United Way web site continues to feature UW people who are involved with some of the agencies that draw funding from the campaign. Last week it was Ken Westhues of the sociology department, who serves on the board of the Working Centre in Kitchener. This week it's graduate student Katrina Ratz, who is a case worker for the Child Witness Centre of Waterloo.

Ralph Haas, distinguished professor emeritus in civil and environmental engineering, was honoured with the Award of Academic Merit at this month’s Transportation Association of Canada annual conference in Saskatoon. The engineering faculty's e-newsletter notes that the new award was presented in recognition of his 45-year career as an educator and mentor. In addition to the many research projects he’s conducted and lectures he’s delivered worldwide, Haas has published 10 books and 400 technical papers on transportation and infrastructure.

St. Jerome’s University reports that chaplain Melinda Szilva has been seconded to serve as the national coordinator of the Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry and the Canadian Catholic Students Association. During the secondment, she’ll be at St. Jerome’s one day a week and one weekend a month. In her absence, Sister Martha Fauteux of the School Sisters of Notre Dame will take on some SJU Campus Ministry duties. Sr. Martha, the Vocation Director for the SSNDs, has led student retreats for St. Jerome’s over the past few years, and has continued to serve as spiritual director for some students and members of University Catholic Community. Her campus ministry service marks the return of the SSNDs to the St. Jerome’s campus. The School Sisters of Notre Dame established and ran Notre Dame College from its opening in September of 1962 until May 1996, when the Sisters retired from that ministry on campus and sold the building to St. Jerome’s, which renamed it Sweeney Hall.

The Communitech web site reports that "Terapath, headed up by well-known local entrepreneur and braingeists Yvan Couture, Jeff Fedor and founder Peter Sweeny, will be the first client to graduate from the Waterloo Accelerator Centre." • As the field hockey season winds up, Vicky Lounder of the Warriors has been named to the provincial all-star team by Ontario University Athletics. • Every time you buy a meal from the Chopsticks counter in the Davis Centre's Bon Appetit food fair during November, "you will receive a ballot for your chance to win one of two woks packed full with Asian sauces and goodies," food services says.

And . . . last month was "the warmest October in 60 years," says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station in his monthly report. "Although the coldest parts of the month were still average, I think they felt a lot colder after days that were 15 degrees higher than average." And this winter's first frost came October 28 — a week ago yesterday — which is the latest first-frost date since the UW weather station was opened, and in fact the latest anywhere in Waterloo Region since 1970.


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