Perimeter Institute (PI) was founded ten years ago to provide Canada with a world-leading centre in theoretical physics at the frontier of modern science. The Institute has rapidly earned international recognition as a centre for research where international scientists cluster to push the limits of our understanding of space, time, matter and information, as well as share their work with the general public.
PI Director, Neil Turok, says, "PI is now in a position to assemble a research community of unequalled strength and synergy, consisting of world-leading theorists in a wide range of complementary disciplines. Working together, these physicists will attack exceptionally complex and difficult problems in order to produce major scientific breakthroughs of importance to society."
The Present Facility
PI's founders recognized from the outset that in order to establish an institute of the highest international standing in Waterloo, Ontario, it would be necessary to create an inspiring facility, both functionally and aesthetically. The original 65,000 sq ft building was completed in October 2004 and contains a variety of research areas for private and group interactions. The building has become a significant landmark in the region, winning several design awards. These include the 2006 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, a 2005 Ontario Association of Architects Award, a 2005 Ordre des Architectes du Québec Award and, more recently, a 2008 International Architecture Award for the Best New Global Design.
Planning for the Future
To accommodate the anticipated influx of leading scientists, PI would like to approximately double its current, physical research space while remaining within the allowable "footprint" of land. The present structure, which is now at capacity, would need to grow by approximately 55,000 square feet. Last year, PI applied to a federal government research infrastructure program that, with related provincial and private monies, may support the proposed expansion. The granting program's evaluation process continues and results should be known in June. In the meantime, PI is making all necessary preparations in order to rapidly implement the expansion plan as soon as funding is secured.
The plans prepared have been careful to respect the existing public walking trails, sightlines and green spaces next to Waterloo Park. The Institute collaborated with several City of Waterloo committees and the local conservation authority to determine the best approach. These collaborations, along with design work by the award winning firm of Teeple Architects, would allow Perimeter to double research space within its existing footprint of land.
Plans for the interior would allow Perimeter to include individual and group research spaces with the IT infrastructure necessary to enable research and training at the highest level, including the analysis of complex calculations and large data sets, and remote collaboration with international colleagues.
It is hoped that successful funding and planning measures will lead to an expanded, state-of-the-art research facility capable of housing a scientific team of unequalled strength, working in the ultimate environment for the human mind to conceive, visualize and understand the nature of physical reality, from the subatomic world to the entire universe.