University of Calgary – MacKimmie Complex

The heart of the campus

Education, Renewal

Designed to be a high-performance net-zero carbon building, the MacKimmie Complex comprises a fully renovated tower and block and a brand-new link that connects the two buildings by an atrium, surrounded by a redesigned outdoor gathering space. Designed with high performance features, the project has achieved a CaGBC Zero Carbon Design Certification in 2020. The multi-year, multi-phase project will enhance pedagogical and administrative environments, accommodate growth, and strengthen the sense of place and community in the heart of the University of Calgary’s main campus.

The building enhances modern-day learning in a way that goes beyond technology and programming. The building skin makes its energy-modelling systems tactile, or visible to the eye, as a way to make climate change conversations a permanent fixture in life on campus.

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Calgary, AB
381,311 sq ft
University of Calgary
Targeting LEED® Platinum certification

SMP Engineering
Transsolar Energietechnik
Urban Systems

DIALOG Services

Interior Design
Mechanical Engineering
Landscape Architecture

Clear and purposeful, the modernist design of the MacKimmie Complex establishes connections between built form and open space.

Made primarily of glass and concrete, metal photovoltaic panel features and stainless steel cladding create a breathing façade that uses natural light as a building material.

The new link flows through the existing structure and leads purposefully to extended study spaces for quiet reflection and to newly accessible views of the surrounding campus.

The new urban realm proposes a new relationship between landscape and architecture by embracing open spaces and enhancing campus community by maximizing movement throughout the site.

The integrated design approach for the building and systems is to minimize energy use by using passive climate techniques such as natural ventilation, thermal mass, heat recovery and solar exposure.

The building skin makes its energy-modelling systems tactile, or visible to the eye, as a way to make climate change conversations a permanent fixture in life on campus.

This building uses a dynamic double skin façade with automated windows and shades to optimize views, daylighting and minimize glare.

A mechanical ventilation system ventilates the spaces from a raised floor system when solar energy is not available or is insufficient and when occupants are present.

The Team

The new MacKimmie Complex will stand as a daily and practical inspiration for students to focus more on sustainability. It is already helping to diversify our building industry by bringing new technologies, materials, and techniques to Calgary.

Druh Farrell, City of Calgary Councillor
Constructing MacKimmie Tower: June 2018 - August 2019 The heart of the campus

An early concept of the MacKimmie Complex façade.

Elements of the early model are placed upon a site plan of the MacKimmie Complex.

This computational design model shows a section of the building’s underlying structural and glazing elements.

The complete tower model shows the main structural elements and the support system for the double-layered façade.

This rendering shows how the building interacts with the adjacent Swann Mall, a key pedestrian and gathering space at the university.


2023 Award of Excellence – ArchitectureAmerican Institute of Architects (AIA) Canada Society
2021 Tree for Life Award Association of Consulting Engineering Companies
2021 Award of Excellence, Buildings Category Association of Consulting Engineering Companies
2022 Award of Excellence – Building Engineering: InstitutionalConsulting Engineers of Alberta
2019 Mayor’s Urban Design AwardCity of Calgary
Consulting Engineers of Alberta announce 2022 award winners ReNew Canada
Awards, Project News April 21, 2022
DIALOG unveils net-zero MacKimmie Complex design at University of Calgary Canadian Architect
Project News June 1, 2018