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Student Design Showcase – Aviation Education Facility

November 5, 2015


A proposed infill project at the Aviation Museum, for the purpose of housing the Algonquin College Aviation Management program. This program includes flight training, aircraft maintenance and management. The project will be located between two existing buildings within the museum complex and will be equipped with classrooms, labs and work space for the students to use.

The objective of this project is to create an efficient, sustainable educational facility using the latest techniques of prefabrication. To accomplish this goal, both passive and active strategies must be applied.


• Nader Abdelkhaleq
• Maria Martinez
• Syed Nabeel Najeemullah
• Joseph Tannouri


• Prefabricated cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam truss structure, giving a wood feel to the interior space, reminiscent of historic wood airplane construction.
• Perforated metal façade panels on south side, inspired by the different angles of aircraft wings.
• Use of panelized construction for walls makes it easy to construct for an infill site development.
• Skylights bring natural light to the hangar space.
• View of hangar space from second-level classroom area.
• Net positive in energy and water.
• The building is a teaching tool to students and the public, exposing its design and construction features.


Nader Abdelkhaleq

It was really exciting that we were able to fulfill the requirements of both the Aviation Management program at Algonquin College, and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The final design gave me a good sense of accomplishment.

I have always wanted to learn about Green Architecture and sustainability, and because I come from a civil engineering background with experience in concrete structures only, I found it challenging to come up with a structural design that is made entirely out of wood. I had to do a lot of research and contact many companies that specialize in wood construction. It is amazing how everyone I talked to was willing to help. We chose wood as the structural for many reasons, including the time factor, lightness, and most importantly the fact that wood is sustainable and renewable.

Working in a team that consists of individuals with different backgrounds was really helpful—we each contributed different aspects of the design.

The best aspect of the project is that it is a net-positive building; that means it produces more energy than what it uses. That is possible because the design uses a lot of solar energy for natural lighting and heat gain, and the building also uses a 44 kW DC solar panel system to produce energy. The total energy demand per year is 55,477 kWh, while the generated energy per year is 57,094 kWh. And by taking advantage of the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) program, the annual energy cost could be negative.

The hangar is also net positive in water consumption; the roof collects water throughout the year, but the building will still be consuming city water in freezing conditions. Based on annual climate data and energy modeling program Sefaira, the amount of water consumed per year is about 184 m3. And the amount of water captured annually by just 400 m2 of the roof area would be around 350 m3. The excess water can be stored in tanks and donated to the museum or other neighbouring buildings.

Maria Martinez

Working on this project was a challenging experience; working for a real client gave us a real life work experience. We learned how to answer to our client’s necessities and requirements with the resources we had available.

Our design combines two parts into one building, allowing them to work both individually as well as a whole. Part one is the airplane hangar; part two combines all the other spaces such as classrooms, labs, office, bathrooms, storage and mechanical room. Both parts together result in an energy net-positive building, which means that it generates more energy than it consumes.

The building was conceived as prefabricated from the start. This did not restrict the design at all—it allowed us to conceive flexible spaces that can be easily modified for the future use of the building. Also, considering this is an infill project, prefabrication will make the construction much easier and faster than traditional construction. We designed a structure of wood beams and trusses for the hangar space and panelized CLT floors and walls for the other spaces.

Syed Nabeel Najeemullah

This was an engaging and challenging project to work on. The main challenge we faced was to satisfy the Algonquin College Aviation Management program requirements with the given infill site provided by the  Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

One of the main requirements was to introduce prefabrication construction methodology. I have come from an architectural background in India, and being new to the Canadian construction industry, this project gave me a massive opportunity to learn about various types of prefabrication techniques used in Canada.

The best experience for me was to interact with real clients and present our design work to them. Working in a team where each individual is from a different discipline opened the path to learning more and sharing knowledge with each other. Being new to wood construction, my team members and professor made sure that I was updated with the latest techniques. In our design, we used panelized construction using Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) for structure, walls and floors. It was amazing to discover the positive environmental characteristics of CLT such as low greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage.

I was fascinated to see how wood is consumed a lot for construction here, as it is one of the best sustainable materials if proper forest management is applied. This is because of vast availability of this natural renewable resource. The place I have come from does not use this type of construction as it is scarcely available. Hence, it was a good experience to know more about prefabricated wood construction.