The Maanjiwe Nendamowinan (MN) building at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus has been awarded the 2019 Global Excellence Award by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) for its exceptional architecture.

The building, designed by the Toronto-based firm Perkins and Will, was announced the winner in the education category on December 4, 2019. It was touted for incorporating originality and creativity, a product of the firm’s efforts to portray the building as “always active, never empty.”

UTM students share their thoughts on the MN building and how it feels to meet and study at MN’s available study spaces. 

 “What I love about it is that there are so many spots available to hang out and chill,” said Yashi Rawat, a second-year life sciences student at UTM. She happily told The Medium that MN is her favourite building.

“The classrooms are nicely set up, so any class that I have automatically becomes my favourite,” continued Rawat. “Also, the view from the top floor is amazing!”

Facundo Camano, a first-year aspiring mathematician, comments on how the architecture of the MN building itself is interesting to look at.

“It’s a nice atmosphere. You can see out, you can see all the architecture. It’s like the focal point. I’d say this building is my favourite,” said Camano.

For others, the MN building brings up feelings of melancholy and memories of their time at UTM.

Melanie Banerjee, a fourth-year life sciences student, told The Medium, “I’ve seen MN being built since I started at UTM. It was always fascinating to wonder if I’d be able to access it by the time I graduated.”

Rawat added that “it just brings memories of being a first year, since it was finished being built in the same year I started going to UTM.”

Alice has been working at the MN café since its opening and at UTM for five years. She appreciates the more relaxed pace here, as opposed to the traffic of IB.

“This is a good building. It’s recently been renovated, [and] it’s a convenient place for students to buy coffee, doughnuts, and muffins in the morning,” said Alice.

Tammy Cook, the executive director of Facilities Management and Planning, weighed in on MN’s much-deserved win. “The Maanjiwe Nendamowinan building is a beautiful building that is sustainable. [It] contains beautiful atrium spaces with floating staircases and maximizes daylight harvesting, enhancing the user experience with excellent health and wellness features.”

MN is a LEED-potential building with green roofs, rainwater harvesting, a very efficient HVAC system, as well as LED lighting and occupancy sensors throughout. It is also equipped with numerous state-of-the-art Active Learning Classrooms and a large central event space with a “learning landscape” that can be opened or closed off on a need basis by moving wood partition doors.

The MN building is one of a handful of architectural projects to be awarded The IIDA Global Excellence Award, which spans across 15 categories. Among other 2019 winners are the ReFuture Clinic in Kiev, Ukraine in the healthcare category, and the Cloud of Luster in Himeji, Japan in the institutional category.

Winners will be honoured at an awards ceremony in Paris on January 18.

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