Ontario College of Art and Design University

In 2006, we renovated a two-storey storefront space plus partial basement on Dundas Street West to accommodate the OCAD Student Gallery, administrative offices and storage. The design included a new accessible entrance, facade, a professional gallery, washrooms and modifications to bring the existing building up to OBC compliance.

In 2008 we worked with OCAD’s Capital Steering Committee to develop a long-term plan to address the space shortage. This Capital Master Plan seeks to set exciting precedents in zoning and real property acquisition, and imagines OCAD as an arts magnet for the cultural industry and creative research centred on McCaul Street. The vision of an exciting neighbourhood includes OCAD’s existing 10-building campus, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and numerous post-production facilities, design firms, small galleries, artist co-ops and other cultural industry players — all within a 6-minute walk of OCAD’s soon-to-be transformed main building at 100 McCaul and its iconic Sharp Centre.  Working with OCAD we developed the functional program and space needs for five proposed buildings totalling 600,000 s.f.

In 2010 we worked with OCAD on a feasibility study to assist with MTCU Application Support.  The proposed academic building was conceived as a partnership with a condo developer that would build a  20 storey condo tower on top of a 10 storey academic building that included a library expansion, offices, classrooms and conference rooms for the liberal studies program.

Also in 2010 we were retained by OCADU to examine two options for improvements to be made to their newly acquired properties at 230 and 240 Richmond Street West, which will house the Digital Futures Centre for Visual Studies. The first Option involved modest exterior improvements and general interior renovation. Option 2 was more aggressive, examining ways in which 1-4 floors could be added on top of the existing, shorter, 240 Richmond building. The new space was to link to the 230 building with large, high-ceiling production facilities.

Opportunities were explored to add character to the relatively plain buildings in a way that would represent the High-tech nature of the studies, be sustainable, attract students and researchers and generally broaden the spectre of OCADU influence. Another opportunity to be exploited was active engagement of the surrounding urban community in a manner that is representative of the creative culture of the University by bringing the signature aspect of the building to the street and activating it with a gallery and showcase in a ground level café.