Latitude/Longitude: 43.664, -79.3778
The National Ballet School (NBS) ranks as one of the finest ballet training institutions in the world, on par with the Royal Ballet School in London, the School of American Ballet in New York, and the Paris Opera Ballet School. NBS is the only institution in North America to offer an integral program of professional dance training, advanced level academic education and residential living all on one site. Its state-of-the-art educational and training programs provide students with the skills to become creative, self-assured individuals for whatever career they pursue upon graduation. Approximately 700 students participate in the NBS programs each week.
Project Grand Jeté was conceived to ensure the ongoing evolution of its standards and programs with state-of-the-art facilities. The project weaves together new and heritage buildings. New construction comprises the Celia Franca Training Centre, a vertical campus of three transparent, elevated structures organized into an asymmetrical composition around an existing heritage building, Northfield House, and linked to heritage structures to the north and south via connecting bridges accessed off the piano nobile level. The Celia Franca Centre acts as a backdrop to the historic masonry structures, minimizing the impact of the overall mass on the streetscape. The building is organized as a series of stacked horizontal platforms with floor to ceiling glazing. The platforms become stages to the city, while the city is acquired as a backdrop to the dancers in training.
The space between Northfield House and the Celia Franca Centre is enclosed to create the Town Square, the heart of the school. This three-storey space foregrounds the heritage masonry walls of the heritage building and features an L-shaped Corten steel fireplace and a large digital projection screen. As the space from which all the major support programs radiate and converge – the café, physio department, and Resource Centre – The Town Square embodies NBS’s philosophy to nurture the development of the whole person – body, mind and soul.
The Jarvis Street campus both participates in the intensification and revitalization of its urban context and resonates the balance of tradition and innovation in the art of the ballet by emphasizing an interplay between the heritage elements and the contemporary architecture.
Contributed by KPMB Architects
⇒ Architecture Guide to TORONTO