James Stewart Centre for Mathematics
Faculty of Science, McMaster University
(with KPMB Architects)
AREA: 49,000 sf
This project required the adaptive re-use of Hamilton Hall, built in 1929 and one of the oldest buildings on the McMaster University campus, into a centre for excellence in mathematics. The objective was to strengthen the identity of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and to create a facility that recognizes the interactive nature of mathematics with spaces that promote team-based study and research. The design concept imposed a highly modern interior onto the historic Collegiate Gothic exterior. The interior demolition revealed the concrete post-and-beam construction. A new insulated envelope was inserted to preserve the original stone cladding of the exterior wall and the windows. Portions of the floor slabs were removed to create "the void", which, articulated in blue glass, visually connects the building’s four storeys. Skylit openings at its east and west end allow natural light to be drawn deep into the interior spaces.
Each of the building's offices are organized around the existing stone-framed Gothic windows. The offices are unified under a continuous ceiling plate that allows the existing concrete beams and slab to define the full spatial extent. Horizontal glass slots on office fronts draw light into hallways from the perimeter openings. The public corridors are oversized and furnished with tables and benches to encourage group study and collaborative thinking. Slate blackboards, used for mathematical notations, are woven throughout the office and corridor spaces.
In my role as Design Team member, I designed, produced and coordinated the pre-tender documents related to teaching spaces and the Administration area. I attended client and consultant meetings and coordinated research on interior finishes and furniture systems.
2005 American Institute of Architects/ Committee on Architecture for Education, Educational Facility Design Award
2005 American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Outstanding Interior
2004 Governor General's Medal in Architecture
2004 Architectural Record, Record Interiors Award
2004 Ontario Association of Architects Award of Excellence
Photography: Tom Arban/ Eduard Hueber