ZAS clads engineering campus at york university with tessellated algorithm-based façade
all images by doublespace photography



encouraging a learning environment conducive for creativity and innovation, ZAS architects were charged with developing the bergeron centre for engineering excellence at york university in canada. its student-driven design process led to a modern approach rooted in providing the best facilities, while serving as a platform for the ‘creative problem solver and entrepreneurial leader with a social conscience’

student productivity drove the design process, optimizing spaces for learning, discovery and interaction




the bergeron centre contains 15,700 square meters of floor space on five levels rising from the campus to create a ‘landscape of learning’. the exterior is defined by its undulating and tessellated façade comprised of a series of triangles from the result of an algorithm which has given the building its cloud-like properties. throughout the campus, a play of light and pattern is consistently seen

the undulating façade is comprised of a series of triangles positioned according to a precise and complex algorithm




challenging the norm of educational architecture, the organization of the campus has been inverted. with no lecture halls; the boundaries between students and faculty have been seamlessly integrated to promote flexibility learning. the results are spacious and light-filled learning spaces; embodying an immersive environment balancing social and academic areas which echo the look of a tech start-up. with services and offices located in the core, the corridors have also been utilized as small niches with white board-walls and areas for brainstorming. presenting itself as a hub for entrepreneurship, collaboration, and creativity, the institution has an ambitious mandate for gender balance – the first engineering school of its kind in canada.

a complete immersion of technology + architecture allowed for fewer classrooms and a project-based learning space

the classrooms infuse technology and interactive systems

inverting the typical structure, students are given access to the brightest spaces while offices are located in the core

evoking the properties of a cloud, the façade reflects light and pattern across campus and into the interior

a dedicated entrepreneurial lounge/presentation room allows students to conduct meetings

a hub for entrepreneurship, collaboration, and creativity, the facility’s design aims to advance engineering education

a student-centric philosophy extends throughout – the corridors are places to learn and create with small niches

the open layout echoes the look and feel of start-up businesses




project info:


client: york university, lassonde school of engineering
architect: zas architects + interiors, toronto
engineering: arup canada
facade engineering: blackwell bowick partnership ltd.
mathematical facade pattern resolution: mesh consultants
landscape: scott torrance landscape architect inc.
construction management: laing o’ rourke canada ltd & gillamgrou inc .