Centre National Intégré du Manufacturier Intelligent
In 2019, UQTR undertook the addition of a new pavilion to its Drummondville campus, the Integrated National Center for Intelligent Manufacturing (CNIMI), connected to the neighboring pavilion by a tunnel and built in an entirely wooded site. Inaugurated in 2022, the CNIMI now hosts students from two institutions, Cégep of Drummondville and UQTR. It also supports manufacturing companies, such as industrial robots, that want to make the digital shift and integrate new technologies into their production.
CNIMI’s centrepiece is a large plant laboratory equipped with metal machining, welding and robotic equipment where education, university research, and technology demonstrations occur side by side. All of the building’s rooms overlook a vast, bright area in the heart of the building that brings to mind the centre’s primary purpose. CNIMI is also where classes and laboratories dedicated to teaching and creativity hubs for collaborative research with the industry are held. An administrative area and a public area with a cafeteria and multi-purpose room for special events are also provided in the building.
NFOE's team of architects was able to deal with many constraints to design an attractive industrial building that offers a unique teaching environment in the university network and that fits perfectly into the developing campus of Cégep of Drummondville’s site. The final concept, which is both simple and thoughtfully planned, skillfully combines the centre’s innovative, technological vision with the wooded environment surrounding it—a feat echoed in the building in several ways. Each CNIMI’s components was carefully thought out to help the building enhance its environment and create a bright, inspiring interior environment that fosters the development of new ideas. The mirror-polished aluminium exterior reflects the trees of the surrounding woods, and the large, glazed sections of the facade flood the interior spaces with natural light. A large vista opens through the double-height plant laboratory while the conduits integrated into the slab house the industrial equipment’s power supply, the compressed air lines, and the data transmission cables.
The new building’s relatively square shape provides a simple, compact solution that maximizes floor space and highlights the surrounding wooded area. To reinforce the notion of campus, the new building’s façade includes a concave angle that points toward the entrance, a design detail that evokes open arms and creates a public space for students.
A large opening span made in the building from one façade to the other allows natural light to penetrate to the heart of the pavilion, where the public spaces and double-high plant laboratory are located. CNIMI’s side façades are covered with mirror-polished aluminium, reflecting the trees, to visually reinforce the density of the wooded area. At both ends of the central space, glass façades open onto the neighbouring forest, which becomes an integral part of the interior decor.