The University of Guelph has broken ground on the renewal and expansion of its performing arts facilities designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. The 4181-m2 (45,000-sf) project aims to inspire the next generation of artists, musicians, and performers.
The design reimagines the north wing of the MacKinnon Building (1967) located in the heart of campus. It houses the College of Arts and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI).
A new theatre will be built in the courtyard, fulfilling the original intention to use it as a theatre space. The ImprovLab will be a publicly accessible, multi-use research environment to present, record, and analyze improvised performance. The 160-seat black box theatre will have office and research space, and be flexible for a range of audience seating and research participation.
Renovations will also involve the building of a new main entrance, creation of student spaces, reconfiguring and returning the Luscombe Theatre to a blackbox performance space, new practice rooms for music, as well as upgrades to address both accessibility and acoustical issues.
“This modernization enhances both the esthetics and performance capabilities of the MacKinnon Building to engage students and support their creative drive,” said Michael Treacy, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects. “Acoustically attenuated rooms for practice and performance are complemented by an abundance of light-filled space that opens and connects the building with the campus.”
The project is expected to be completed in spring 2021.