The new $66.2 million state-of-the-art hybrid academic facility designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and Philip Agar Architect at Fanshawe College in downtown London, Ont. has officially opened.
The 114,000 square foot building has been transformed from a historic 19th century department store into an urban college campus with space to accommodate 1,600 students, staff and faculty. The new seven-storey building will house the Schools of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts and Information Technology. The structure includes a setback three-storey addition above the original building with a façade featuring colourful metal panels and varying densities of frit on the glazing.
Some of the original features and materials were incorporated into the newly built facility, such as reclaimed wood joists, a tin ceiling and locally-made yellow brick. The building retains its original stone façade and awning on Dundas Street. The former Kingsmill’s department store’s adjacent red brick annex, meanwhile, was taken down, restored and replaced. The pneumatic tube messaging system and the original store safe are both on display.
The ground floor of the building features a student-run restaurant, a two-storey biofilter living wall, amphitheatre seating and an open corridor that links the Dundas and Carling Street entrances. The academic program provides students with five culinary labs, a raked-seating demonstration lecture theatre, a teaching restaurant, four classrooms and 11 computer labs. The fourth floor features student terraces.
“The building site is 55 metres long and narrow, so in order to bring in daylight and enhance the transparency, a light well and staircase in the centre of the building extends to the second-floor main event space,” said Sydney Browne, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release.
The new campus is the largest single project by Fanshawe College, which is southwestern Ontario’s biggest community college.