January 21, 2008
by Canadian Architect
The Region of Waterloo History Museum, to be built at Doon Heritage Crossroads, will be “an architectural statement integrated with the landscape” and “symbolic of the ethics and vision of our time,” according to the team hired by the Region to design the new museum and Visitor Orientation Centre.
Regional Council approved a recommendation by the Museum Steering Committee to hire Moriyama + Teshima Architects of Toronto in association with the Walter Fedy Partnership of Kitchener to design the new Region of Waterloo History Museum and Visitor Orientation Centre. The exhibits at the museum will be completed by a team of designers led by VUE Design of Toronto.
Assisting with the project and ensuring the museum and exhibits “reflect the stories of the entire region,” is local historian and author Kenneth McLaughlin, professor of history at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo.
“Regional Council is confident the team they have hired will help us create a Regional History Museum and Visitor Orientation Centre that will help give our community a sense of pride and identity, and reflect the unique perspectives and spirit of all those who have and will continue to call this region home,” said Regional Chair Ken Seiling. “Our vision is to create an institution that will appeal to local residents, serve as a valuable resource for students of all ages, and create a tourist destination for visitors with whom we wish to share our story.”
The new museum will house permanent and temporary exhibition space, as well as classrooms, a theatre and other education facilities. The site will also include orientation exhibits to the 1914 living history village at Doon Heritage Crossroads, adding indoor assembly spaces for school groups and community events.
Since 1958, Moriyama + Teshima has played a leadership role in major institutional projects ranging from the new Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the Bata Shoe Museum and the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, the River Run Centre in Guelph and Science North in Sudbury.
Over the past 57 years, the Walter Fedy Partnership has constructed facilities throughout Waterloo Region, including the Cambridge and Kitchener YMCAs, Regional Police Headquarters, Kidsability Centre for Child Development, Hespeler Memorial Arena and The Record‘s head office.
Members of the VUE design team have experience in museum exhibit design across Canada and around the world, including the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, the Great Lakes Maritime Centre in Michigan, the National Museum of Science and Industry in the United Kingdom and the Saudi Arabian National Museum in Riyadh. McLaughlin is former chair of the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and has been involved with museums in the local community; he served as a member of the National Advisory Council for Museums in Canada.
The design of the new museum is expected to be completed by the late spring of 2008 and construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2008, pending approval of capital funding by Regional Council. The opening ceremony is planned for July 1, 2012, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Waterloo Historical Society. The total cost of the project is estimated at $22.7 million.