Do you I3? – Give UW a makeover!

Milena Beloia-Cheres - 3B Civil
Posted on: November 17, 2010

When it comes to universities, UW has got the entire package- the brains, the name, the connections- except the looks. I was walking onto campus last Saturday, along with hundreds of inquisitive high-school students and their parents arrived here for the Open House, and could not help noticing how uninspiring a first impression UW must have made. In any situation, first impressions matter. So why does the most innovative university in Canada greet its guests with the blandness of dying vegetation at the entrance to Ring Road, sabotaged trash bins in front of South Campus Hall, architecture that failed to make it into the 21st century, and parking lots large enough to try and compensate for all of the above?

This is the question that Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, Central Marketing team, and Provost’s Office asked when they proposed the I3 Challenge– Innovate, Integrate, Implement. The challenge seeks students’ innovative solutions to enhance the form, function, and image of the South Campus entrance. Inspiring solutions that would finally capture the innovative spirit of the University of Waterloo. For the first time, UW is ready to integrate its strengths by involvement of all the faculties, as well as of the operations team and the Region of Waterloo, putting together what could easily be the most unforgettable UW competition.

Making It Happen:

It starts on November 23, 2010, at 4:30 PM, with a campus-wide brainstorming session held at Bomber. Students will be asked to focus their design on one or more of the following categories:

  • Enhanced integration with the community
  • Campus accessibility and transportation
  • University of Waterloo identity and marketing
  • Sustainability
  • Visitor way finding

The Area: The design will focus on the site along:

  • University Avenue, between Westmount Ave. and Phillip St.
  • Seagram Drive, between northern boundary of Waterloo Park and South Campus Hall
  • Parking Lots H, HV, C and their green spaces

The Team: The unique feature of this challenge lies in its integration components. Teams are required to have 3-6 members representing at least 2 faculties, with no more than 3 members from one faculty. Graduate students are also invited to compete, with any team having no more than 2 graduate students. Add to this the professional guidance that each team will receive along the way from faculty advisors, Plant Operations, and industry, and the possibilities are endless.

The Deadlines: The competition will take place in 3 stages:

Date Deliverables Prizes
First February 2011 Your overall vision for the proposed area for the next 3-10 years 10 teams will be chosen to advance to the next round and receive $500
Second April 2011 Detailed design proposal 4 teams will be awarded an extra $1000 each and advance to the final round
Third May 2011 Final submission and presentation of the immediate implementation plan The winner will receive $100,000 towards the implementation of the project and their design will be set for construction in Fall 2011.

The Criteria: Winning criteria will have 2 areas of focus:

  • Product- Final submissions should satisfy the 3 Is of the challenge, as well as align with the UW Campus Masterplan
  • Process- Teams will be required to submit a discussion of how they functioned throughout the design period

Few students get to graduate university and leave behind such a lasting legacy, which will finally redefine the University of Waterloo from the bland school with brains to the hottest school in Canada for years to come. So check out more details about the competition at, and head out to Bomber on November 23 to kick start the I3 Challenge.

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