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With its alliterative title and slippery acronym, the Energy. Environment. Experiential Learning (EEEL) building is as much a recognizable landmark for cabbies as it is for students.  Opened in September 2011, EEEL attained LEED Platinum certification in April 2013. Among its notable sustainability features are geothermal earth tubes that precondition the air, grey water and stormwater reuse, triple-glazed windows and natural ventilation. Despite its size, daylight penetrates to most areas of the building through generous interior glazing and large perimeter openings, reducing the need for artificial lighting. The exterior aluminum panelling is angled down on the south façade to direct sunlight into a pedestrian square, while the panels on the north street-side façade are oriented upwards, bouncing light into the sky and making the building appear brighter.  

Engineering students can observe the automated green louvres on the south façade pivot in response to sun movement. Junior geoscientists can examine a series of arches by the south entrance that is both decorative and didactic: the forms comprise natural stone layered in correct geological order, demonstrating the standard entrapment of oil and gas in sub-surfaces. Inside, plumbing to control in-slab radiant heating and cooling systems is revealed behind glass access doors. Mechanical systems at ceiling level are exposed and meticulously labelled. The visual effect of these narrow pipes in perfect parallel alignment running the length of hallways and around corners is one of a kinetic sculpture in stationary mode, or, if you turned the lights off, perhaps the set of Tron. [1]


[1]      McIntosh, Alexanrda. “Bedazzled Box.” Canadian Architect, September 30, 2013. https://www.canadianarchitect.com/bedazzled-box/.

Additional information

“Energy Environment Experiential Learning.” University of Calgary, January 21, 2021. https://www.ucalgary.ca/sustainability/our-sustainable-campus/buildings/ucalgary-leed-buildings/energy-environment.

“University of Calgary – Energy Environment Experiential Learning Centre.” DIALOG. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.dialogdesign.ca/our-work/projects/energy-environment-experiential-learning/.


Project Title: Energy Environment Experiential Learning Centre (EEEL), University of Calgary
DIALOG Alberta, Perkins+Will Canada
Year: 2011

Place: Calgary, AB

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