Enhanced Public Realm

Preservation Of Existing Trees

We believe that caring for the environment is synonymous with being a good steward. To that end, we’ve taken great care to protect the existing mature trees along the bridle path on Western Parkway which play an important role in the surrounding neighbourhood's character.

Tree Protection Strategies:

  • Trees along the bridle-path adjacent to the residential neighbourhood will be saved.
  • A building setback will limit excavation in the root zone of the trees along the east (Western Parkway) perimeter.
  • The existing condition of protected trees on and adjacent to the property have been examined to establish guidelines for protecting retained trees during the construction process.
  • If any excavation around the trees is necessary, it will be minor and will be conducted by hand or with an air spade under the supervision of an arborist.
Menno Hall tree setbacks diagram

Small Ground Floor Footprint

The entire Menno Hall building will be lifted off the ground floor in order to maximize the amount of available space that can be given over to the public realm with a landscape strategy that paves the way for a mix of public and private uses. To compliment this strategy, specific academic building components will be sensitive to the publicly accessible environment and will be limited.

Spacious covered walkways will run through the site offering intuitive routes for community users who will move through the site on their way to different parts of the neighbourhood.

Ground floor footprint diagram Menno hall, Shape architecture
Pedestrian routes & gather spaces are instentionally organized, anticipating movement between destinations withing the site.

Welcome Plaza

The inviting greenscaped Welcome Plaza located at Menno Hall’s “gateway” will be a flexible public space designed to encourage dialogue and foster a sense of community. The beautifully landscaped Welcome Plaza will feature indigenous plants and outdoor seating, and provide space where tents and tables could be set up for events such as craft markets or pop-up produce stands.

Welcome plaza Menno Hall, Shape architecture
View of Menno Hall from the corner of Westbrook Mall and University Blvd.

Landscape Design

Menno Hall’s environmentally sensitive landscaping spans multiple floors. Every aspect of the landscaping is strategically designed to enhance every interaction individuals have with the site and bring a sense of natural serenity to the surrounding area.

Landscape Highlights:

  • The Grotto Atrium - A recessed landscape spills into the interior of the site through a grotto themed garden and water feature. This space will serve as both a quiet sanctuary and a striking multi-sensory amenity that animates the public realm.
  • Welcome Plaza & Aspen Knoll - This will be a feature planting area showcasing indigenous plants central to the worldview of the original inhabitants of the land. A combination of feature benches and moveable seating will serve as places for connection and the welcoming landscape will focus activity inwards to the green heart of the site’s open courtyard.
  • Green Roof - The green roof of Menno Hall will manage the quantity and quality of the rainwater being released into the municipal stormwater system and feed the central sunken lagoon, located in “The Grotto”.
  • Privacy Buffer - Landscaping with hedges, tree rows, screening, and fencing will provide a proper buffer and ensure the privacy and quiet of residential areas around Menno Hall are maintained.
  • Plant Communities - The existing mature London Plane trees will be complimented by a native planting strategy offering a vertically layered canopy cover that will blend the edge of Menno Hall with the surrounding neighbourhood and support diverse bird communities.
Menno Hall landscape design diagram, Shape Architecture

design Vision

Menno Hall is conceived as a greenscaped “urban gateway” which will contribute a significant area of enhanced ground level public space to encourage dialogue and foster a sense of community. A landscaped streetside plaza along University Boulevard will feature indigenous planting and outdoor seating while providing opportunities for tents and tables to be set up for public events such as craft markets or pop-up produce stands.

Shape Architecture design diagram, Menno Hall
View of Menno Hall Approaching from University Blvd.


Connectivity is at the heart of the landscape design and will facilitate an intuitive and visually appealing pedestrian network throughout the site that connects destinations on campus with the rest of the neighbourhood.

Building lobbies and entrances will be designed with maximum transparency which makes them visible from the street and also provides passive surveillance.

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