Owner: University of Windsor
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Size: 48,000 sf
The design study for the School of Music within the historic Windsor Armouries building explores the concept of the “instrument in its case”. This concept is employed as the means to solve the aesthetic and heritage demands of the project as well as the cost and sound control issues of the architectural program. The scheme positions the recital component as the beautifully crafted “instrument” sitting within the context of the existing heritage building as its protective shell or “case”.
The existing heritage building of the Windsor Armouries would undergo a much needed restoration of its characteristic stone and brick work. Upgrades to window systems and the addition of a glass vestibule would improve the building’s insulation properties and greatly reduce its energy consumption. The main design gestures are realized within the vast interior space of the Armouries. The 400 seat recital and performance space is positioned as the main component of the project. The “Instrument” possesses a dynamic form that is clad in a wood veneer skin. The striking relationship between the stark, industrial interior of the Armouries, and the warm materiality and formal sensibility of the recital space create a strong interplay of historic and contemporary architecture.
The entrance sequence greets users to a grand space that serves multiple uses. During school hours, the space is conceived as a vital gathering spot for students, as well as an area for both small and informal performances. During evening hours, the space becomes an active lobby area during community performances in the recital space, the lobby was also intended to host various events and shows throughout the year. These vital connections to the community elevate the School of Music to not only an essential component of the University, but also a vital amenity to the vibrant life of downtown and the surrounding community.
The facility also includes a choral studio with flexible seating, multiple teaching labs specialized for various instruments, practice studios, music library, classrooms, student lounges, spaces for the music therapy program and various administrative functions.