In 2013, Dr. Robert Fitzhenry donated generously to the School of the Arts (SoTA) for a new addition/renovation to the existing studios and classrooms at Togo Salmon Hall. The objective was to engage community practitioners, alumni, faculty, staff, and students in the design process to understand what the needs, potentials, and caveats of the project would be. The new addition provides vastly expanded floorspace and amenities for more equipment-intensive media — printmaking and sculpture — including facilities for lithography, etching, and silkscreen, as well as wood- and metal-working, and one of Canada’s few remaining metal casting facilities housed in a University fine arts facility. Once-windowless studios for upper-year students have been expanded, and flex-studio and new media facilities balance the use of traditional media with an understanding of the shifting nature of creative practice with the emergence of new tools. Gentle north light pours into the double-height painting studios and the addition of a 25’x25’x25’ glass-enclosed atrium (“the Cube”), provides a powerful environment for critique, exhibition and performance. The SoTA’s new urban prominence has strengthened connections with other faculties so that art students can offer their unique perspectives to engineering and humanities students, and vice versa. Because of urban connections at two levels, the highly transparent “Cube” is now in frequent demand as an event space on campus, while broadly showcasing the work of students and faculty members during both working critiques and final exhibits
“It has been a pleasure to work with dpai on our art studio expansion and renovation project at McMaster University. dpai’s friendly consultation throughout the process was effective and much appreciated. They applied their expertise to our unique demands, arriving at aesthetically dynamic solutions for a complex network of work spaces. The result is a functionally and visually cohesive space.”Professor Judy Major-Girardin McMaster School of the Arts
Dpai was asked to renovate an existing reading space and respond to the current demands and expectations of faculty and students, while reflecting the changing layout of learning spaces. A central curvilinear partial-height partition was proposed to provide three meeting rooms for small to medium study groups and video confer-ences, while retaining light and vision through the space with gen-erous glazed panels. Access to natural light is a precious commodity in the modernist tower and priority was given to the open-study and small collaborative study groupings. The previously non-descript study room, a bonus space created as the physical volumes of the library, decreased and stacks were removed. It was given texture and a layer of new materials. A portion of the concrete ceiling was ex-posed, with the added benefit of increasing the height and volume of the study space.
“It was a pleasure for us to work with architects who understood so much about student needs and have a solid grounding in trends in the evolution and transformation of libraries. David and his team were very collaborative and responsive to our needs. They were ultimately able to unlock the potential within the constraints of a challenging building and were able to translate our vision into a dynamic learning space. The result resonates deeply with our students who have commented that the new space motivates, inspires and energizes them. Their only complaint is that we haven’t yet done the same with the rest of the library. I would welcome the opportunity to work with dpai again would recommend their team without hesitation.”Chief Librarian Mark Robertson Brock University
dpai helped University of Toronto’s (U of T) Food and Ancillary Services realize five unique, proprietary food concepts in the heart of downtown Toronto’s campus. dpai worked with the clients to develop separate branding images for a pizzeria, soup bar, salad bar, tex-mex and gourmet burger concept. Special attention was paid to every interior design detail to ensure the spaces for all food concepts reinforced the client’s food concept vision. dpai achieved that by designing elements such as custom pop art boxes, bicycle taxidermy artwork, custom industrial lighting and stunning custom designed steel, live edge and acrylic panel service counters. dpai was able to deliver highly custom designs successfully within tight timeline and budget and worked closely with U of T Food Services to incorporate new food service equipment.
The service counters were designed and built to last; the live edge wood, and undulating butcher block counter wrap at the pizzeria serve to lend warmth to the space and unify all 5 food concepts. This renovation raised the bar for design for food services on campus and set a new standard for food service counter design for future projects on campus. Stone Oven Pizza is currently outperforming its major chain counterpart on campus, and all food concepts points have been showing major gains in sales.
When the Department of Kinesiology needed to design facilities to house new biomechanics, physiology and motor-control labs using existing space in the Ivor Wynne Centre Building they turned to dpai. Short on time, but in need of a thorough assessment of the space, dpai led user groups through a participatory design process that was crafted specifically to facilitate the compressed schedule. With a scope of work that included all interior design and furniture selection, the end product is filled with light and transparency and a once hidden department was now front and center.
“We were renovating an existing use research and educational space in an older building on a limited budget. The team from dpai took the time to thoroughly assess our current and future needs and managed to channel our vision into design features that have had a lasting positive impact on all users of the space. We have found that the space is adaptable to our needs, robust in terms of utilization and comfortable and energizing to work in. From start to finish, the team from dpai was amazing to work with. Their attention to detail, commitment to quality work and focus on customer service resulted in an outcome that far surpassed our expectations.”Dean of Science Maureen Jane MacDonald Ph.D. McMaster University
David Premi acted as Project Architect and Design Team leader for the Brock University Plaza 2006 project. dpai was responsible for all contract administration services. The 71,000 sq.ft. building included a new 13,000 sq.ft. fully fit-out Campus Store on the ground level with two 14,000 sq.ft storeys of academic offices and teaching spaces above. The building is connected to the existing Student Services Building on three of five levels and will act as a gateway building for pedestrian traffic arriving by both automobile and mass transit.
The building also houses the LifeSpan Development Research Centre which includes the departments of the Brock Research Institute for Youth Studies (BRIYS), Social-Personality Group, Hormone and Brain Development Research, Infancy Research, and Neuropsychology/ Psychophysiology Labs. The building is a key element in the development and expansion of the South Campus. The building attained LEED® Silver Accreditation and includes: stormwater management quality control, light pollution reduction, energy recovery systems, enhanced commissioning, construction waste management, recycled content, regional materials and low-emitting materials, temperature and lighting control systems, enhanced daylight and views, external shading devices and an innovative conditioned air delivery system that utilizes the thermal mass of the building’s precast hollow core structural deck to store heating and cooling and to significantly reduce energy consumption.
Mohawk College’s new Centre for Health Care Simulation at the Institute for Applied Health Sciences (IAHS) located at McMaster University, houses over 25,000 square feet of integrated clinical lab space and supports over 2,000 full and part time students per semester. The centre is an interdisciplinary learning environment enabling students to develop field and clinical skills as part of an inter-professional team. Students demonstrate skills and competency using technology enhanced simulation, paired with a simulated patient program. dpai designed the various space types to support and align with the IAHS vision and saw the multi-phased projects through to completion. The interior design work included a new ultrasound simulation lab, cardiovascular technology lab, accessible testing centre, computer and silent study lab, integrated and collaborative resource library (including, a new service hub, a large anatomical model display case, various collaborative and solo study areas, small meeting rooms, brain storm area and study lounge). The project also included a new staff workroom, research lab, point of care demonstration lab, an expanded nurse clinical tutorial lab and two new ADL (apartment simulation) labs.
"I was impressed on many levels with the DPAI team. They are professional, responsive, respectful and did a very good job of engaging all the stakeholders in the process. They were flexible and accommodating to the changing scope and requirements of the project. The space has been transformed from a 20 year old traditional learning environment to a modern, energetic and creative space that attracts students from all across campus."Paul Armstrong, Vice President Academic Mohawk College
The Ted Rogers School of Management expanded their ability for diverse, experiential learning with interior design by dpai for the Classroom of the Future. The space was conceived as a flexible, non-hierarchical, non-directional prototype classroom that can be used as a lecture hall, study space, student lounge and venue for TEDx presentations. The space is designed around four custom soft geometrical saturated orange seating pieces, with dimmable ceiling fixtures constructed from arrays of closely spaced LED lighting strips and clad in a translucent stretch acoustic fabric. Additional seating is provided in two areas for laptop use, while soft blue seating cubes are distributed throughout the space for varied seating options.
The room also features multiple short throw, interactive projectors that cast images onto three walls, offering ultimate flexibility in viewing angles. The lecturer can roam about the space with a wireless microphone and remote for changing the projected images. A state of the art, centrally located, omnidirectional speaker ensures high sound quality in all parts of the room. Students can remotely receive the presentation on their own laptops to provide further functionality to the space.