Waterloo, ON

University of Waterloo B1 B2 Laboratory

Following the success of our UW Science Master Plan, mcCallumSather was retained in 2019 to complete the 5,090 sq. ft. renovation of laboratories and building systems on the first and third floors of Biology 1 (B1) and Biology 2 (B2) within the Earth Sciences Building. The $5.2 million  project involved renovating three laboratories, associated spaces and building systems.

With unique material choices and ample natural light, the B1/B2 renovation blends the practical requirements of specialized science and research environments with high design aesthetics. The renovated layout positions labs around the perimeter of the building, separated from circulation routes, with office and common spaces positioned in the centre area. This separation allowed us to maximize openness within the lab areas. Transom windows, glazing walls, and punch windows were used strategically to bring natural light deep into the interior communal areas, while maintaining privacy. This transparency serves the dual purpose of encouraging cross-discipline interactions.

Finishes were selected for durability, ensuring longevity and ease of maintenance. The counters are made of resilient custom solid resin with easy to clean epoxy. The flooring is a vinyl tile throughout. Contrary to typical sterile aesthetics for laboratory spaces, our design team introduced warmth and interest with details such as bold colour accents colours, unique to each space, and sealed wood finish cabinet fronts for the custom prefinished metal casework.

In line with the University’s sustainability goals, our design maximized building performance and incorporated resilient and environmentally friendly materials throughout. We upgraded the building envelope with close cell spray insulation, which increased the R-value and improved overall building performance. The intention is to upgrade the entire building envelope overtime. This combines with new high efficiency, LED lighting and low-flow, water saving fixtures.

We upgraded the systems, including a new air handing unit, to meet code compliance and accommodate supply for an environment with a 75/25 lab to office ratio. Our systems upgrade included an innovative use of highly efficient chilled beams, a first for our firm.

During our intensive iterative design process, we identified the need for new AHUs and associated mechanical components. Now installed on the roof of the building, they provide 100% fresh air to the renovated areas. The upsized system is designed for future expansion to serve the remaining building areas over time.

We developed a phasing and hoarding plan to minimize the impact of construction on the functionality of the rest of the building facilities. Where possible, services were routed through corridors rather than laboratories to enable continued use of the functional science and research spaces throughout the renovation. Acting as client liaison with the City, we developed a safe egress plan during construction to ensure that systems and user safety were not impacted at any time during construction.


Architecture, Interior Design, Mechanical Engineering


Post Secondary, Science & Research

Team Leaders

Drew Hauser
Liam Brown
Mary Georgious
Michelle Austin

Partners & sub consultants

Stantec — Electrical
Blackwell — Structural
Hanscomb — Cost Consultant


5,091 SQ. FT.