Perimeter Institute

by | 07. Aug 2012

Educational | Feature

Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte

The Perimeter Institute, an international center for basic research in foundational issues of theoretical physics, is located on the shore of Silver Lake in Waterloo Park.

The building defines the secure zones of the institute’s facilities within a series of parallel walls, embedded in an erupting ground plane that reveals a large reflecting pool.

The design is inspired by the nebulous spaces occupied by the subjects of theoretical physics, at once micro- and macro-cosmic, rich in information and of indeterminate form and substance. The facade design, with its geometrically patterned panels, is meant to underline the nature of its occupants’ investigations of mysterious natural forces.

Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte
Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte
Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte

The design achieved everything in the program within a context of stunning beauty and daring innovation.

/Howard Burton
Executive Director

Two wings of offices are separated by a glass-roofed atrium and an exterior courtyard. Three bridges span the exterior courtyard, to encourage easy continuance of scientific discussion for researchers, connecting the building on the second and third levels. Each bridge culminates in an informal meeting area, overlooking either the exterior garden or the atrium, that are visually accessible from alternate floors, enabling resident researchers to quickly assess who is in the building throughout the day or night.

Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte
Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte
There are 44 single research offices, together with larger shared offices, to accommodate additional researchers, and 15 administrative offices. The building is flooded with natural light from the generous amount of glass throughout the building and from the central atrium.

Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte
Photo courtesy Saucier + Perrotte
The facility also contains a two-story library, two seminar rooms, a large lecture theater, seating 210, and a bistro with a rooftop deck, located above the lecture theater at the eastern edge of the building.

To ensure a warm and personal atmosphere throughout, six wood-burning fireplaces are placed in lounges, informal meeting areas and the bistro.

Drawing courtesy Saucier + PerrotteSite Plan



CITYWaterloo, Ontario