Cape Breton University’s newest residence, Harriss Hall, continues the architectural vernacular of the existing residential campus, and strives to create a strong sense of community and fraternity.
The new residence was designed to house one-hundred eleven single beds, a mix of private and shared washroom facilities, a three-hundred-seat dining hall, and a central mailroom that serves all on-campus students. Harriss Hall acts not only as a living space for the residents that inhabit it, but also as a central hub for on-campus living.
Harriss Hall is the final enclosing element that envelops an outdoor courtyard/green space. Vehicular traffic is discouraged within this area, in order to protect the natural integrity of the inner court. This outdoor living space was designed to encourage social interaction between students -- an interaction that is an integral aspect of on-campus university life.
The exterior of Harriss Hall, with its pitched roofs and high-contract colour palette, creates an aesthetic that is emblematic of traditional maritime architecture, while complementing the exterior of the two adjacent residence buildings.
The interior finish elements of the dining hall were selected to create a warm, inviting atmosphere in which students can comfortably gather and feel at home. There is a variety of seating accommodations available, including soft seating booths; bar-style counter-height dining tables and chairs; and a full living area, complete with a flat-screen television, a fireplace, and shelving for books and games.
Harriss Hall offers a variety of dining options, including a culinary table; a pizza, soup, and salad bar; a dessert station; and a deli and fresh-grill area. A unique feature of the dining hall is the self-serve preparation area that is referred to as “My Pantry.” This self-serve preparation area is equipped with appliances, and food items for purchase, so that students have the option of preparing meals to their own specifications.
Harriss Hall also features energy-efficient environmental systems. A vertical, closed-loop geothermal system is used to heat and cool the building. This system is a first for the Campus, and Harriss Hall is one of the first university residences in Canada to implement this technology.
The dining hall’s kitchen is equipped with a highly efficient ventilation system that captures 30 percent less air than conventional air systems. This ventilation technology is far less wasteful than more traditional systems, and is particularly effective in this application as ventilation constitutes a significant portion of commercial and institutional kitchen energy usage.
An additional energy-efficient feature of Harriss Hall is the insulation factor of the facility, as National Building Code requirements for insulation were surpassed on this project, reducing heat loss.
A storm-water-capture system on the building site allows rain water to percolate naturally into the ground, as opposed to collecting in a storm drain.