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La Cité’s Excentricité brings new immersive experience to Ottawa businesses

Architecture, engineering, 3D animation and skilled trades students team up to create ‘virtual projects’ in high-tech studio

There’s something extraordinary happening at La Cité’s main campus near the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

It’s called Excentricité. In the words of Lise Bourgeois, the college’s president and CEO, it’s a place where businesses, students and faculty can “meet, create, innovate and dream together.”

Excentricité contains 34,100 square feet, capable of accommodating up to 1,100 people. It has seven retractable screens, 43 surround-sound speakers and 252 square feet of screens around the room to create a 360-degree experience.

“We needed a beacon of creativity and innovation,” she says. “This place is a living lab for exploration and experimentation.”

The vision for Excentricité was conceived in 2013 and cemented three years later when the federal and provincial governments committed to provide $20 million in funding. 

Combined with a $5-million student contribution from the Students’ Association and $5 million from La Cité’s Foundation and partners, the building was completed in April 2018. As a bonus, the project was also able to accommodate a new pub, Le 801 – an amenity long sought-after by students – and the upgrade of the sports facility.

Excentricité – which is open to the public – is already being put to creative uses. In the “Imaginarium” project students and faculty will design an interactive content bank and a small mobile interactive tower image gallery, where people can choose different projections for classrooms, seminars and galas. Students and faculty from the digital arts, photography, graphic design and electrical engineering are scheduled to complete the project this fall.

Architecture, civil engineering and animation students are working on a “visual architectural walk” with 3D images, giving the illusion of actually walking through a physical space. Visitors will be able to feel immersive sensations and images without helmets or 3D glasses.

As well, students from the Skilled Trades Institute and the Technology, Arts and Communication Institute will design a modular escape game system that develops skills such as communication, team building, time management, decision-making and adaptability.

Businesses can book a demonstration or reserve the facilities for outstanding events. For more information, visit the La Cité website.