Royal Conservatory TELUS Centre

Construction year: 2009
Address: 273 Bloor Street West, Ontario | TORONTO | Canada | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 43.6682, -79.3963

Founded in 1886, the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) is Canada’s premier music and arts educator. Since 1963, the RCM has been housed in McMaster Hall (1881) and Mazzoleni Hall (1910) on Bloor Street West. The restoration of McMaster Hall and the construction of the new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning will create a total of 190,000 square feet of new academic and performance space including an 1,100-seat concert hall, studios and classrooms, a media centre, library and rehearsal hall. The RCM project will define a new cultural precinct for the city in concert with Daniel Libeskind’s transformation of the Royal Ontario Museum and the expansion of the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art by KPMB on Queen’s Park.

The new additions act as a backdrop against which the existing heritage buildings are featured on Bloor Street. The space between the historic and new buildings is enclosed to create a skylit pedestrian court extending from the Bloor Street entrance to the Concert Hall and Lobby. A series of bridges traverse the upper level, facilitating circulation between the upper levels of the old and new buildings. Contemporary glazing systems for the new additions provide dynamic counterpoints to the polychromatic facades of the heritage buildings.

The TELUS Centre is conceived to provide a flexible, fully wired infrastructure to adapt easily to new technologies, including e-learning and video-conferencing workshops using broadband technology and advanced digital acoustic instruments. The architects worked closely with a core user group to create teaching and instruction spaces that reflected the RCM’s objectives for the evolution of its music programs. It will also house the 1,100-seat Michael and Sonja Koerner Concert Hall which has been sculpted to create an optimal acoustic environment for live and broadcast performances. The design of the Hall, distinguished by an undulating wood “veil” integrated with the canopy over the stage, will create a signature image for the RCM and establish the venue as a destination for music lovers worldwide.

The overall design of the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning emphasizes the primacy of acoustics throughout its new and renovated facilities, and is conceived to create a physical embodiment of the RCM’s educational mission and its mandate to nurture the vital role of music in culture and society.

Ouellette: While not exactly a surprise to jury members, the TELUS Centre is compelling for its tectonic rigour and careful respect for existing site elements. Two KPMB projects bracket Libeskind’s polemic ROM Crystal. It is this one, however, that expresses a mannered clarity that stands up to its more architecturally aggressive neighbour. The eastern façade’s relationship to Philosopher’s Walk, a singular historic passage in the university’s campus landscape, offers a sensitive combination of elements that complements rather than overwhelms the intimacy of the space. This is an exceptional solution to a difficult historical context.

Provencher: This project presents a solid scheme for a small site. Given the seemingly impossible constraints of site and context, the architects have nonetheless managed to develop this project in a uniquely sensitive way. They have proposed an elegant and modern solution which wholly respects the existing architecture of McMaster Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Taylor: The challenge of packing an extensive program into a tight site is skillfully accomplished through the creation of interstitial voids between new and old that enrich the user’s experience of both. The incorporation of Philosopher’s Walk into the design and the new wing that stretches out to Bloor Street are strong urban design moves. This project shares a number of important characteristics with KPMB’s project for the additions and renovations to the National Ballet School on Jarvis Street in the way the old building is incorporated and celebrated.

Client: The Royal Conservatory
Project Team: Mariannemckenna (Design Partner), Robert Sims (Associate-In-Charge), Davesmythe (Project Architect), Meika Mccunn (Project Architect), Carolynlee, Frances Lago, Dan Benson, Krista Clark, Bill Colaco, Georgefriedman, Ramon Janer, Erik Jensen, David Jesson (2006-7), John Mestito,Gary Yen, Robin Ramcharan, Rita Kiriakis, Lexi Kolt-Wagner, Scottpomeroy, Olga Pushkar (2006), Mark Simpson, Jimmy Sun, Deborah Wang,Chris Wegner, Norm Li, Clare Radford
Acousticians: Sound Space Design With Aercoustics Engineering Ltd
Theatre Consultant: Anne Minors Performance Consultants
Consultants: Halcrowyolles (Structural), Crossey Engineering Ltd. (Electrical), Merber Corporation (Mechanical), Janet Rosenberg + Associates(Landscape), Turner & Townsend Cm2r Inc. (Cost), Martin Conboylighting Design (Architectural Lighting), Engineering Harmonics (Av),Goldsmith Borgal & Company Ltd Architects (Heritage), Bhandari And Plater Inc. (Signage)
Project Management: Chris Dineley, Anjinnov Management
Music Court: Landscape Architects: Janet Rosenberg + Associates (JRA)
Plant Selection: JMM Design Studio, Julie Moir Messervy
Architects: Kuwabara Payne Mckenna Blumberg Architects
Heritage Architect: Goldsmith Borgal & Company Limited Architects
Landscape: Janet Rosenberg & Associates
Contractor: PCL Constructors Canada
Principal: Chris Couse, Goran Milosevic, Luigi Larocca, Mitchell Hall
Senior Associate: Andrew Dyke, David Jesson, Judith Taylor, Robert Sims
Associate: Brent Wagler, Bruno Weber, Carolyn Lee, David Smythe, Glenn Macmullin, John Peterson, Kael Opie, Kevin Bridgman, Kevin Thomas, Mark Jaffar
Director: Amanda Sebris, Phil Marjeram, Phyllis Crawford
Architectural Staff: Andrea Macaroun, Angela Lim, Annie Pelletier, Anna-Joy Veenstra, Bryn Marler, Camille Mitchell, Claudio Venier, Christopher M. Pfiffner, Clementine Chang, Danielle Whitley, David Constable, David Poloway, Elizabeth Paden, Erik Jensen, Fang Hsu, Farhan Durrani, Garth Zimmer, Geoffrey Turnbull, Glenn Ginter, Jose Emila, Joseph Kan, Joy Charbonneau, Lucy Timbers, Lynn Pilon, Matthew Krivosudsky, Myriam Tawadros, Nicolas Green, Ramon Janer, Richard Unterthiner, Rita Kiriakis, Robert G. Hill, Roland Ulfig, Sanaz Shirshekar, Taewook Eum, Takuma Handa, Terry Kim, Thom Seto, Victor Garzon, Vivian Chin, Wendy Wisbrun, William Rohde, Zachary Hinchliffein
Interior: Carolyn Lee, Danielle Sucher, Jacki Chapel
Marketing + Admin: Alice Bowman, Amanda Sebris, Arlene Yee, Armine Tadevosyan, Danielle Milburn, Dawn Stremler, Irene Kwong, James Temos, Joan Gardner, Johanna Radix, Julie Epp, Lola Skytt, Richard Yeates, Robert Faber

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