Laurentian University School of Architecture marks grand opening

Last week, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially launch the Laurentian University School of Architecture, the first school of architecture to open in Canada in 45 years.

The Premier stood alongside Laurentian University President and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Giroux, Minister of State for Regional Economic Development (Northern Ontario) the Honourable Greg Rickford, and Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk, surrounded by members of the School’s Fall 2013 charter class.

“I know this program will lead so many young people here in the North to rewarding jobs and great opportunities. That is why we are proud to have given Laurentian University our support, to help nurture the talent that exists in this community and connect more people to great careers,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Laurentian Architecture’s first cohort of 70 students will follow a curriculum informed by sustainable design practices and design that incorporates the natural environment. In future years the School will also offer the only French-language Master of Architecture program in Canada outside Quebec. By September 2018, the school will accommodate 400 students and more than 30 faculty and staff in a landmark building designed by LGA Architectural Partners.

“Through strategic investments such as this, our Government proudly supports projects which create meaningful opportunities for young people in our region,” said Minister Rickford. “By investing in local priorities and collaborating with strong community partners like Laurentian University, our Government is delivering on its commitment to support innovative projects which spur job creation and economic growth, and lay the foundations for the long-term prosperity of Northern Ontario.”

“This is an exciting new era for Laurentian, for Ontario and for the architecture and design communities,” said President Dominic Giroux. “Seventy new students of architecture are just beginning their studies and hundreds more will follow in time. They represent the heart of a bright, creative design culture, and they will make their mark in communities here and abroad for years to come.”

“The Laurentian School of Architecture has already brought fresh energy and excitement to our city’s core,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk. “As the School grows and develops, it will support our creative industries and generate many new opportunities in our city and across the North.”

In its inaugural phase, Laurentian Architecture is housed in two renovated heritage buildings in the heart of downtown Sudbury. The CPR Telegraph Building (1914) and the CPR Rail Shed (1905) have been refurbished and adapted to provide studio/atelier spaces, meeting rooms and offices, with some of the original design features preserved and enhanced.

Beginning in 2014, the second phase of the project will see new construction of 65,000 square feet to incorporate the existing buildings and to add the library, lecture hall and workshop. Laurentian Architecture will also showcase the first large-scale use of cross-laminated timber in a public building in Ontario, through the support of the Centre for Research in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE).

“Our School will be a teaching tool in itself, as well as a locus for learning through Francophone and Indigenous cultures, designing in winter cities, and the use of natural materials,” said Laurentian Architecture’s Founding Director, Dr. Terrance Galvin. “We believe that our curricular mandate, combined with the diverse talents and interests of our faculty and of our students, will give this school a remarkable signature in the field of Canadian architecture.”