Ryerson Image Centre

Diamond Schmitt wins two CODAworx awards

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Diamond Schmitt Architects has received two awards of merit from CODAworx for combining commissioned art and architecture in a public space. The winning projects, both located in Toronto, are Ryerson Image Centre (pictured) in the education category and Public Health Ontario’s Laboratory in the institutional category.

“Our mission for the awards is to celebrate projects that demonstrate the most successful integration of commissioned art into interior, architectural and public spaces,” said Toni Sikes, co-founder of CODAworx, in a press release.

Ryerson Image Centre researches and curates public exhibitions pertaining to photographic arts. Its design includes a double-skin glass façade entirely surrounding the upper floor and concealing an LED lighting system. At night, multi-coloured lights glow in separate panels or in unison, creating a programmable, interactive light installation.

“The design for the facility took inspiration from the source of all photographic arts — namely, light — as a theme to embed in the renovated and expanded building,” said Donald Schmitt, principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release.

Made Visible is a multi-storey wall installation located in the new headquarters of Public Health Ontario. It is made of nearly 8,000 stainless steel rods and tubes representing an abstract version of the SARS virus as seen across four microscopic scales and magnified monumentally. As people walk through the space, the installation reveals itself gradually, alluding to the mission and responsibilities of the institution, piquing curiosity and encouraging social interaction and personal reflection.

“The installation was conceived as integral to the architecture of the project,” said Peggy Theodore, associate at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “We saw the potential of the continuous wall adjacent to the central stair connecting all four floors to animate and reinforce the coherence of the space.”

The architects and client representatives met over the span of a year to develop and fine-tune the details of the installation. The group chose to highlight the SARS virus, because the 2003 outbreak was the impetus for establishing Public Health Ontario.

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