Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.14

April 22, 2004


Hall Building gets social space and sunlight

By Barbara Black

Photo of Hélène Vallée

Hélène Vallée on the eighth floor.
Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

The transformation of the Henry F. Hall Building is well under way. Just looking at the eighth floor with project manager Hélène Vallée shows what can be done to a much-used teaching facility that is 40 years old.

Natural light is the first thing that strikes the visitor, and added corridor space comes a close second. The classrooms at the north and south ends of the central corridor have been sacrificed to let the sun stream in, and what a difference it makes.

The offices that faced the escalators are gone, which makes the central corridor wider. This open space, lined with alternating natural wood and frosted glass panels, will have groups of leather sofas and bistro tables, and a service centre for the Engineering and Computer Science Students Association.

Vallée says a folding glass curtain will screen the escalator off from this area, partly to prevent fire from spreading to other floors in such an emergency, but also to shut out the constant clank-clank of the escalator.

“We’ve tried to use materials that are classic in colour and in nature, so that only the accent colours need to be changed with changing fashions,” she said. Since many of the classrooms are still windowless, their accent colours are red, blue, yellow, green depending on the side of the building. Ventilation, lighting and sprin-kler systems are all being upgraded, with interesting features that will make classroom life more agreeable.

For example, the ceiling lights in the classrooms are in groups of three fluorescent tubes; the light switches allow the user to illuminate one, two or all three. Movement detectors in each classroom ensure that the lights are switched off and ventilation reduced when the room is vacated.

Only the corridors, perimeter classrooms, labs and project rooms are being renovated; the central core that houses the washrooms, stairwells and H-820 auditorium have not been affected.

The eighth floor ought to be finished by September, Vallée said, and will continue to be occupied by Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. Incidentally, Vallée herself is a 1988 graduate of that program.

The tenth, eleventh and twelfth floors will be renovated next, and they will house the social sciences. Renovations on the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth floors are being planned, but the time frame for carrying out the work has not yet been established.