Macdonald Institute, Guelph University

74 MacDonald Street, Guelph, Ontario

2014 Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award (Adaptive Reuse/Rehabilitation)

A building so celebrated that Canada Post created a commemorative stamp in its honour, the University of Guelph’s Macdonald Institute is a landmark on the campus and included on the City’s heritage inventory. Built in 1903 to house classes in Domestic Science, by the 1950s it had evolved into the premier School of Home Economics in North America. The structure is defined by its striking red brick, rusticated limestone and terrace base, and decorative terra-cotta elements. With portions of the building condemned, the university committed to investing in its restoration and rehabilitation. To ensure that it would once again function fully, the masonry parapets, limestone terrace, ceremonial staircase—with stained glass triptychs—were all stabilized and restored (code compliance alternatives were completed for the ceremonial staircase). Exterior conservation included decorative metal cornices and eyebrows and an exceptional rebuilding of the terra cotta portico. The rehabilitation of the main lecture hall transformed it from a rundown classroom into a state-of-the-art high-tech lecture theatre within a heritage envelope.

Owner: The University of Guelph
Architects: Stevens Burgess Architects Ltd.

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