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Perkins + Will to renovate Trent’s Bata Library


February 10, 2016
by Canadian Architect

A winter view of Bata Library at Trent University, originally designed by Ron Thom. Photo courtesy Trent University.

A winter view of Bata Library at Trent University, originally designed by Ron Thom. Photo courtesy Trent University.

Architecture and design firm Perkins + Will has been selected to transition Trent’s Bata Library into modern learning hub at heart of Trent University’s Symons campus in Peterborough, Ontario. The mandate includes overseeing the creation of new collaborative study spaces and innovative services in the iconic library, originally designed by Ron Thom.

“This is an important step in the transformation of the Bata Library into a modern, people-centred learning hub – a library of the future,” said Robert Clarke, University Librarian. “The space plan that Perkins + Will produces will help us create a vibrant and exciting environment for research and discovery. Trent University, and its library, are defined by world-class research, and education and 21st century research, teaching and learning require new spaces, services and resources.”

Perkins + Will, the same firm that led the expansion and renewal of the state-of-the-art Trent Athletics Centre in 2010, won the contract after an extensive bidding process and will be working with library staff, students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders to build on the 2014 Strategic Plan for the library, which outlines direction to support teaching and learning, create spaces for collaboration and learning, enable research and scholarship and build partnerships. The space renewal plan will determine how the library can realize its vision for:

  • Project rooms for collaborative work
  • Small group study pods
  • A discovery centre for student research and innovation
  • The digital preservation of special collections and resources
  • An active learning classroom
  • A space for Trent University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and other academic services
  • Study and meeting space for graduate students and faculty
  • Renewed spaces for the Archives and for the Maps, Data and Government Information Centre

The announcement of Perkins + Will’s successful bid in the library transformation project follows on the heels of a recent $1 million gift to the library from long-time Trent supporters David and Joan Moore. The multi-million library renewal project is a key initiative in Trent University’s $50 Million Campaign: Unleash the Potential. Other key projects in the campaign include fundraising for the construction of the student centre, increasing student assistance, investing in the interactive learning environment of the Colleges, and supporting world class research.

The Bata Library is an iconic example of the Modernist architecture of Ron Thom. Planning for the redesign and renovation of the library will pay close attention to Thom’s original design features and concept as a light-filled structure. The Perkins + Will Functional Space Plan is expected by mid-April and will consider input received during the strategic planning process as well as user groups conducted over the next few months. Work will proceed in stages as funds are available.


A winter view of Bata Library at Trent University, originally designed by Ron Thom. Photo courtesy Trent University.


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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