This renovation project involved the reorganization and re-branding of both the Farmer’s Market and the Central Public Library, two of Hamilton’s most important civic destinations. The Library features new public spaces, reorganized and enhanced collections, and increased computer and internet access through the introduction of a 50 workstation information commons. The renovation of the Farmer’s Market focused on improvement of the HVAC system, lighting, plumbing servicing, and an overall reorganization of the functional layout.
The detailing of the new façade of the additions assists in re-establishing a connection with the street thereby supporting Downtown Renewal and the overall health of the urban environment. The project has also provided an opportunity to engage the public, staff, and politicians in a discourse on the value of good design.
“I have worked with many architects on many projects; this project was the first time I found myself letting go, confident that our hopes and visions for the building were being heard and were being translated into a workable plan combined with an amazing AWE factor. Use of the building skyrocketed and has remained high ever since the transformation performed by David and his team.”Former Chief Librarian Ken Roberts Hamilton Public Library
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.
A fibroblast is a type of cell that manufactures and maintains connective tissue; the structural framework in animal tissues. Besides their commonly known role as structural components, fibroblasts play a critical role in an immune response to a tissue injury, and the healing of wounds. Fibroblasts produce collagen, a primary component of scar tissue.
The Fibroblast Tower is a prosthetic intervention that is designed to begin the healing process of a natural ecosystem, the Niagara Escarpment. Seen as a barrier, the residents of the City of Hamilton have attempted to conquer this World Biosphere Refuge by scarring its surface with roads, paths, and funicular railways to overcome travel challenges. The result is a dysfunctional relationship where the escarpment has become a symbol of the City’s political and environmental shortcomings.
The Niagara Escarpment is both a connector and a divider. It connects land and water, nations, urban and rural environments along its length. It provides a conduit for wildlife. The Bruce Trail runs the length of the escarpment from Queenston on the Niagara River to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula, providing a venue for uninterrupted nature walks of 890 kilometers in length. The breadth of the escarpment divides the environments above and below, creating a barrier for travel and movement of goods.
The Niagara Escarpment is a UNESCO designated World Biosphere Reserve and is heavily protected from further damage caused by roads, ski areas, resorts, railways, buildings, and wind farms. The continuity of the Escarpment in Hamilton has been breached by several vehicular access points that connect the upper and lower city. The most drastic of these rifts is where the six-lane high speed highway known as the Claremont Access intersects with the older “Jolley Cut”. This has become a hostile environment where pedestrians, hikers, cyclists and wildlife are threatened by forced interaction with vehicular traffic. These man-made arteries deny the natural movement and erosion of the escarpment rock, wreaking environmental havoc on fragile ecosystems.
The King William Performing Arts District Concept Plan proposes the creation of an integrated, multi-use district centred on Theatre Aquarius with a mixture of performing arts, retail, commercial and residential uses bringing vibrancy to the area and sustainability to the Theatre, while connecting the district to other parts of downtown along King William Street. This study was commissioned by Theatre Aquarius, Hamilton's premier professional theatre company with performing arts facilities located on King William Street in downtown Hamilton. As a cultural anchor, the Theatre draws more than 100,000 visitors a year to its facility, contributes more that S 12 million dollars in direct economic benefits to Hamilton each year. The study was undertaken with partner CivicPlan.
As with many cultural institutions, the long-term sustainability of the Theatre requires proactive planning to ensure its ongoing success. In addition to proposed expansion of the institution, DPAI examined existing limitations on the Theatre’s ability to grow as a destination in the downtown. After reviewing local by-laws and plans and consulting with representatives from the performing arts community, neighbourhood, the City of Hamilton, and local post-secondary institutions, DPAI produced a proposed design concept of the district.
SouthTown is a unique district nestled below the Niagara Escarpment near downtown Hamilton. It encompasses the prominent streets of James and John South and includes major attractions such as St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Hunter Street GO Station, the Augusta entertainment area, and the historic James South Terraces. The vision for South Town recommends several actions to guide improvement in the district.
To name a few, the City of Hamilton can help improve the physical condition of streets and sidewalks by investing in urban design that maximizes the use of the more popular corridors. This includes a redesign of the sidewalk in front of the historic James South Terraces, the introduction of public art at key gateways, and the transformation of Augusta Street into Hamilton’s first Woonerf, or pedestrian prominent street, that would become the social centre point for the district. Development of mixed use office, residential and street-front commercial/retail should also be encouraged in the prime building sites.
Overall, the SouthTown concept builds on the inherent strengths of the district, including historical character, central location and existing major nodes, while carving out a distinct identity separate from, but complementary to, the adjacent central business district. In doing so, SouthTown will become an even greater destination for living, working, shopping, and entertainment at the centre of a resurgent Hamilton.
The Cannon Knitting Mills are a historic complex of industrial buildings in Hamilton, dating back as early as the mid-19th century. The Mills were for generations an economic powerhouse in Hamilton as home to the Chipman-Holton Knitting Co. The buildings’ history is ready to be reclaimed as plans are drawn for its next chapter — as pioneers in sustainable urban growth strategies, DPAI has been at the forefront of envisioning the rebirth of the Cannon Knitting Mills as a community and entrepreneurial hub in the city.
With a footprint of half a city block and rising to three to four storeys, the Mills are capable of housing a diverse and mutually-supporting range of programmatic activity, from live-work studio space opening onto Beasley Park, open-plan office space in century-old brick warehouse, to large public exhibition space and atrium and a brew-pub in the cavernous old boiler room. The complex will be extensively renovated with new sprinkler, mechanical and electrical systems. The existing timber frame structure will be restored and repaired as required. The final scheme will incorporate 90 new residential units with storage and amenity space included. New retail/ commercial space at street level will be incorporated.
The Cannon Knitting Mills looms over Beasley Park: at 110,000 square feet of the richest urban industrial space in Hamilton, the complex of five adjoined brick buildings is poised to be a game-changer in the city’s already-rapid downtown renaissance. With portions dating to the 1850s, the complex stands as a monument to Hamilton’s urban-architectural grace of a rich industrial heritage. DPAI is proud to be leading the ongoing development strategies for this pivotal project.