The University of Guelph broke ground on the renewal and expansion of its performing arts facilities. Diamond Schmitt Architects designed the 45,000-square-foot project, which reimagines the north wing of the MacKinnon Building. It houses the College of Arts and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI).
According to Diamond Schmitt’s press release, a new theatre known as the ImprovLab will be built in the courtyard. Funded in part by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, it 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 black-box performance space, new practice rooms for music as well as upgrades to address both accessibility and acoustical issues.
“This modernization enhances both the aesthetics and performance capabilities of the MacKinnon Building to engage students and support their creative drive,” said Michael Treacy, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects in a press release. “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 $5-million project is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.