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Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts (Queen's, Kingston, Snohetta)

Design Wallah

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Mar 4, 2009
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This obviously isn't Toronto, but then neither is the Hilton Niagara. But it's an interesting project and that campus is a beehive of building activity.

'This is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous design'
PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE: Queen's University unveils plans for new complex

Queen's University unveiled its plans for its new performing arts centre last night and the early reviews were raves.

"This is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous design," was one woman's summation of the dramatic stone-and-glass concert hall and arts complex between the Tett Centre and the Stella Buck Building on King Street West.

That comment drew a spontaneous round of applause from a crowd of Queen's and city arts lovers who filled a conference room at Macdonald Hall at Queen's last night where the plans for the building, designed by a Norwegian firm, were publicly revealed for the first time.

Unlike previous meetings about the site, purchased by Queen's as a home for its music and fine arts programs several years ago, the initial fears that the university planned to unveil a Stauffer Library-like monolith on the waterfront or put up a building that excluded the community seemed to have vanished.

Last night's plans for the complex, which will incorporate a 550-seat, purpose-built concert hall, a small studio theatre, rehearsal rooms, art gallery and office space, were greeted warmly.

The new building would be constructed tight against the Stella Buck building and feature walls of glass and stone, with the walkway to the lake maintained and space for bike paths and outdoor cafes incorporated into the design. The building would have a similar height and mass to the old stone buildings on the land, long a hub of the city's arts life.

The interior of the concert hall itself would be created to look like one of the rock cuts or the beaches around Kingston, with stratas of grey stone reaching up to the high ceiling.

Craig Dykers, a senior partner with the Snohetta firm and whose enthusiasm for the project was palpable, compared it to the Tanglewood performance hall in Massachusetts, a small performance venue with perfect acoustics that attracts more than its share of big stars who want to perform in a small venue.

"This building is not only important to the citizens of Kingston, but we see it attracting people from Montreal through Toronto," he told the crowd, which included Queen's alum and actress Wendy Crewson.

One of only two unanswered questions, and one that was brought up several times, was the paucity of parking around the centre.

Dykers and Queen's vice-principal Ann Browne said the school was in discussions with the city, St. Mary's of the Lake and the adjacent Corrections Canada office complex to use nearby parking lots at night or to run shuttle buses to the site, but said there would be adequate parking and access to the site for its proposed uses.
Well, Wallah, you're right, Niagara Falls is not Toronto, but it's also half the distance to the Centre of the Universe compared to Kingston...

...but this is freakin' Snohetta we're talking here! Way to go Queens!

If this were a thread for an average condo or apartment building in Kingston, I'd be leaning towards shuffling this off to another section of UT, but if other Mods don't object, I'm looking forward to following this building in P&C!

and here's the rendering:

Kingston? That's considered GTA now? Hmm.

Looks like a really cool building though. I like it's futuristic style. Except for that portion on the left that looks like a skinny barn. What the heck is that? Would look much better without that part on it. Unless that's the already existing Stella Buck building that's mentioned...
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I guess this and the new Queen's Centre are responsible for all the "development fees" I was charged as a student? I'm sure it will turn out nicely, but I'm saying no to financial support requests from the queen's telemarketers.
when I saw Isabel Bader in the title I thought it was the Isabel Bader theatre (I had a class there once) and was wondering what it was doing in Projects & Construction lol
There is no mention of Snohetta in the press release from Queens, which is kind of ignorant, or there is something missing from the content, because they only mention principle Tom Williams..None the less, if this is in fact a Snohetta building, should work out very well.

What "blank expanses of wall"? Looks to me like there's enough glass in that ground floor City Room to please even the proudest theatrical peacock who wants to strut his or her stuff before the concert and at intermission.
Baders oversee groundbreaking for new performing arts centre
Friday October 02, 2009

Queen's University benefactors Drs. Isabel and Alfred Bader and their son, Daniel, were special guests yesterday at a groundbreaking celebration for the new Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Watched by more than 250 members of the Queen's and Kingston communities, Principal Daniel Woolf, Board of Trustees Chair Bill Young and the Bader family shoveled a ceremonial pile of earth at the waterfront site of the new Centre, on King Street West. Displays and entertainment for the event were provided by the university's four arts departments and the Queen's Bands.

In his remarks, Principal Woolf noted that the new centre will attract more world-class performers and students, helping to make Kingston a vibrant cultural hub for the region. "It is the culmination of a collaborative vision shared by individuals and groups from across Queen's and the wider community," he said.

Kingston Mayor Harvey Rosen, MPP John Gerretsen and AMS president Michael Ceci also spoke enthusiastically about the Centre's impact on the university and the region. Performing Arts Centre building committee chair Bob Silverman introduced Alfred Bader, and Arts and Science Dean Alistair MacLean was master of ceremonies.

With 85 per cent of the funding already in hand for the $63-million project, Dr. Bader announced that he will contribute a further $4 million if Queen's successfully raises the balance required by the end of 2010. The Baders have already donated $18 million to the new centre. The federal and provincial governments are each contributing $15 million, while the City of Kingston has provided $6 million.