Centre National Intégré du Manufacturier Intelligent | UQTR

Centre National Intégré du Manufacturier Intelligent | UQTR

Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Drummondville, QC


Gross area:
6 000 m2

Construction cost:

In 2019, UQTR started construction on a new building, the Centre national intégré du manufacturier intelligent (CNIMI), which is connected to the neighbouring building by a tunnel on a wooded site on its Drummondville campus. CNIMI was inaugurated in 2022 and now accommodates students from two institutions, Cégep de Drummondville and UQTR. It also supports manufacturing companies that want to make the digital shift and integrate new technologies into their production, such as industrial robots.

CNIMI’s centrepiece is a large plant-laboratory equipped with metal machining, welding and robotic equipment where education, university research and technology demonstrations take place side by side. All of the building’s rooms overlook a vast, bright area located in the centre of the building that brings to mind the centre’s primary purpose. CNIMI is also where classes and laboratories dedicated to teaching, as well as creativity hubs for collaborative research with the industry are held. An administrative area and a public area with a cafeteria and multi-purpose room for special events are also provided in the building.

The team of architects from NFOE, the firm tasked with designing the building, was able to address the many constraints of designing an attractive industrial building that offers a unique teaching environment within the university system and is cohesive with the campus being developed on the site of Cégep de Drummondville. The final concept, which is both simple and thoughtfully planned, skillfully combines the centre’s innovative, technological vision with the wooded environment that surrounds it—a feat that is echoed in the building in several ways. Each of CNIMI’s components was carefully thought out to help the building enhance its environment and create a bright, inspiring interior environment that fosters the development of new ideas. The mirror-polished aluminum exterior reflects the trees of the surrounding woods, and the façade’s large glass sections flood the interior with natural light. A large vista opens through the double-height plant-laboratory, while the conduits integrated into the slab house the industrial equipment’s power supply, the compressed air lines, and the data transmission cables.

The new building’s relatively square shape provides a simple, compact solution that maximizes floor space and highlights the surrounding wooded area. Building on the campus concept, the new building’s façade includes a concave angle that points toward the entrance, a design detail that evokes open arms and creates a public space for students.

A large opening spans the building from one façade to the other, which allows natural light to reach the core of the building, where the public spaces and double-high plant-laboratory are located. CNIMI’s side façades are covered with mirror-polished aluminum, reflecting the trees and helping to visually enhance the density of the wooded area. At both ends of the central space, glass façades open onto the neighbouring forest, which becomes an integral part of the interior decor.