JMSB finally has a new home 

Building sets green standard and has multi-use facilities

By Karen Herland

Magnifying glass

The JMSB finally has a home for its nearly 8 000 students, 332 faculty and 90 staff. Sept. 22 marked the grand opening after nine years of careful planning and consideration.

The wheels for the project were set in motion in 2000 when the Molson Foundation and Molson Inc. each offered $5 million and the name of their ancestor to establish the John Molson School of Business. Subsequent contributions from the Molson Foundation and province led to the inauguration of the 17-storey,
37 000-square-foot MB Building at the corner of Guy St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. The construction, was done on time and below budget.

The building’s finishes, materials, air quality, water and energy allocation have earned it the right to apply for silver certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building rating system (to be determined once the building is operating at full capacity).

“This is in tune with what we are doing in our programs,” said JMSB Dean Sanjay Sharma. “Our students want courses in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. We are educating global citizens to understand the complex business environment.” The MB Building also houses the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise Research.

Recently, Bruce Kuwabara, architect with the consortium KPMB/FSA that designed the building, led a tour of the facility. He discussed the project as a decidedly urban, vertical space, linking Quartier Concordia, the transit system and the city. “This building relates to its non-identical twin [the EV Building] as they were conceived together and born four years apart.”

Kuwabara explained the buildings are an integral part of the city. “One faces the river and the other the mountain.” He also stressed the importance of the quality of light throughout the structure. Large picture windows connect the flow of traffic in the building to the traffic of the streets outside.

While the tunnel between the building and the Guy-Concordia Metro station is two floors underground, it’s awash with natural light.

The link to public transit is no accident, given the building’s green profile. There is no car parking built into the structure but bike parking is planned. Among the various measures aimed at earning the silver LEED certification are the use of grey water to reduce overall water consumption, a green roof project for the fourth floor and motion sensors to shut down light or heating systems when rooms and offices are not in use.

The facility also hosts the world’s largest integrated solar panel producing heat and power, courtesy of engineering professor Andreas Athienitis team (see story).

Of course, the building’s main purpose is to offer classroom and study spaces for thousands of students. Kuwabara said early in the project, representatives travelled to Harvard, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, MIT’s Sloan School of Management and elsewhere to better understand differing classroom environments.

As a result of this analysis, the architects concluded that the classrooms would not only vary in size but would also accommodate a range of teaching styles. The larger auditorium-styled classrooms are built quite shallow so that no student is more than six rows away from the front of the class and the professor can take advantage of lateral space. Other classrooms have horseshoe designs, allowing for better student interaction. Traditional classrooms are equipped with staggered fixed and moveable chairs to allow students to break out into small groups. A trader’s room on the 12th floor will make it possible for students to monitor stock activity at desktop terminals.

All rooms have controlled shades to manage heat and light. Some even have panels that muffle sound and provide a handy surface to display student work.

The building boasts dozens of closed and semi-private study areas in which students can meet to discuss group projects or access the building’s wireless network.


Concordia University