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Queen's University Endaayaan – Tkanónsote Residence

Kingston, Canada

Elevating the student experience by creating accessible, sustainable and community-integrated living quarters.

Queen's University Albert Street Residence Building

Image by: Herbert Wang

In September 2022, a new chapter began at Queen’s University with the opening of the Endaayaan – Tkanónsote residence on Albert Street in Kingston. This five-story architectural marvel, housing 324 students, stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to expansion and innovation in student living. Named Endaayaan – Tkanónsote, meaning “home” in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) and Kanyen’kéha (Mohawk), the residence pays tribute to the Indigenous lands of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee. Designed to create a sense of belonging and inclusivity, it provides students with a welcoming space away from home.

This residence epitomizes architectural innovation, seamlessly blending accessibility, sustainability, community, all while preserving pieces of Kingston’s charming heritage. Each design feature was thoughtfully curated to meet the diverse needs of its residents. Among its notable attributes are a dedicated prayer room with two ablution stations, a yoga and meditation space, and indoor bicycle parking – collectively weaving community and culture into the fabric of the built environment to harbour a holistic living experience.

Previously, five university-owned houses occupied the building site – two of which were retained and integrated into the Endaayaan – Tkanónsote residence. These century-old heritage homes, emblematic of the city’s unique streetscape, have been meticulously upgraded with modern mechanical and electrical systems, as well as essential structural and seismic reinforcements. This preservation effort fuses the charm of Kingston’s past with the needs of contemporary student living, fostering a strong sense of community continuity.

Accessibility was a cornerstone of this project. By building spacious suites for mobility needs, two elevators, and a service animal washing station, the residence exemplifies inclusivity, and earned a Livable City Design Award in 2023. In line with the University’s goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2040, the residence was also constructed to LEED Gold Standards – one of the most popular green building credential programs in the world. High-efficiency windows and boilers, low-flow toilets and faucets, and LED lighting throughout the building are just a few hallmarks that underscore its allegiance to sustainability.

We began providing project management services to this unique construction project in October of 2020, as our team assiduously navigated the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite facing supply chain disruptions, material and labor shortages, and price escalations, we tailored unique solutions with our project partners to meet the specific needs of the client. Our leadership in project and change management enabled us to adeptly steer through turbulent times, delivering the project on time and within budget. Through robust communication with the client and our project partners, meticulous planning, and creative problem-solving, we proudly contributed to the successful completion of the Endaayaan – Tkanónsote residence, which now lives up to its namesake.