Transforming Windsor Law

Building Renovation Updates

When the Ron W. Ianni building was conceived, the architects had in mind a new kind of law school. The building was bold and its lines, materials and common spaces were meant to reflect “law as a social process.” The building has served us well for many years but is showing its age. Windsor Law’s 50th anniversary year presents an opportune time to rethink our space needs for teaching, research, advocacy and service in a renewed building and on a renewed University campus.  It is exciting to conceive of a building that could serve Windsor Law for the next 50 years.


Following consultations with students, faculty and staff, the architects are generating exciting plans that really open up and increase our usable space. Here is a brief clip of the architect introducing the project and below are a couple of concept images of the building's exterior and Moot Court. The changes will add significant usable space for our needs while largely remaining within the existing ‘envelope’ of the building (a big part of this is achieved by moving a mechanical room to the roof, thus creating a new second-floor concourse). The transformed building will offer more productive and accessible spaces for collaboration, teaching and learning. Here are the guiding principles for the design:

  1. Create a welcoming and accessible place that instils pride in Windsor Law.
  2. Increase usable building space in a way that puts the student experience at the centre and that supports dynamic teaching, research, experiential learning and service.
  3. Design flexible and multi-purpose spaces that are forward-looking and open to change.
  4. Connect the building to our local Indigenous peoples, physical environment, heritage and communities.
  5. Promote environmental sustainability, health and well-being.

We look forward to finalizing the plans over the summer and introducing them to alumni and friends in the fall. We will also be launching a fundraising campaign in the fall and look forward to your support. The transformed building will be one which instills pride in all of us.

-Christopher Waters, Dean of Law

After several design consultations with Windsor Law students, faculty and staff, Diamond Schmitt Architects are hard at work generating renderings for the transformation of the Ron W. Ianni law building. Initial renderings will be available for alumni and community feedback and consultation in July 2019. Please watch out for that; I think you will be pleased with the welcoming, collaborative space we are creating for a twenty-first century legal education.

-Christopher Waters, Dean of Law

I am pleased to announce that we have selected Diamond Schmitt Architects to help us transform the Ron W. Ianni Faculty of Law building. Diamond Schmitt is an award-winning firm which has experience designing first-rate law schools and other post-secondary education buildings. Pre-design and consultation will begin immediately. I look forward to the ideas and support of students, faculty, staff and alumni in making this project happen. Having recently celebrated our 50th anniversary, the reconceived building will set us up for success in our next 50 years.

- Christopher Waters, Dean of Law

It has been a long and at times tortuous route to get here, but I am pleased to announce that yesterday, at the University’s Board of Governors’ meeting, it was decided that we will move forward with reconceiving and renovating the Ianni Building. All of the bidding architectural firms kept their bids open during this period of uncertainty and we will not have to go through another Request for Proposals process. I will be in touch shortly about the selection of the architectural firm and next steps on consultation and design. We saw some exciting preliminary design ideas during the selection process and I can’t wait for us to get started. I look forward to the input and support of students, staff, faculty and alumni in 2019.

- Christopher Waters, Dean of Law

We were on the verge of selecting an architectural firm for the redesign of the Ianni Building in May, when the provincial government pledged $20 million for a Windsor Law move to the Paul Martin Building downtown. Plans for the Ianni renovation were shelved while we explored this option. However, as has been reported in the media, the new provincial government has decided not to proceed with this project. We will have an update on next steps shortly. As Interim University President Kneale put it, "It's safe to say that given this announcement we will not be proceeding with the Paul Martin Building, but we are hoping to have a very exciting announcement to make soon."

- Christopher Waters, Dean of Law

This is not the update I expected to give. When I last updated you, we had issued a request for proposals for architects to renovate the Ianni Building. We saw some excellent proposals, and were on the verge of selecting an architect, when the University recently received some exciting news about the prospect of major public investment in a downtown law school, located in the Paul Martin Building. President Wildeman explains:

“As your Faculty knows, we tried for over five years to explore the possibility of the law school relocating to the Paul Martin Building.  One of the many conditions that would have enabled that possibility to unfold was the condition that the province be one of the major funding partners.  While the province always liked the idea of the project, and was being supportive of the University of Windsor in other capital developments, throughout all of the years of advocacy it was never a project that they were able to get behind.  As a result, we proceeded, as you know, to commence planning for what could be done to enhance the current location.  Despite all of this, we have now just been made aware that the province has reversed its position and is now willing to be a funding partner for the Paul Martin Building.  This has come as a complete and sudden surprise to us.  As a result of learning this, we have re-opened conversation with the provincial ministry about the Paul Martin Building, to more fully understand the details around their commitment.  We are also in contact with federal partners to assess what this sudden commitment might mean for their support of the project.  We are very aware that a process for selecting an architect for the Ron Ianni Building redevelopment is well underway, and in fact would not have begun that process if we had felt there was any chance that the province was still considering the downtown possibility.  We are making every effort to obtain clarity from both the provincial and federal players involved regarding the Paul Martin Building option as quickly as we can, and will provide further updates as soon as we know more.  We have emphasized to all parties that we need finalization of our direction in the very near term, because all of us know that the needs of the Law School are urgent.

The bottom line is, it seems to me, good in either direction. We will either have a renovated Ianni Building on a renewed campus, or a renovated marquis heritage downtown, joined by our clinics and near both the School of Creative Arts (the Armouries) and Social Work (the Old Windsor Star Building) as well as courts and the profession.  One advantage of the move downtown is that there would be no disruption to classes during construction.

I hope your summers have started off well and will provide a further update later in the summer. Meanwhile, feel free to reach out to me with questions or concerns.

- Christopher Waters, Dean of Law

I am happy to report that we are taking the first steps towards the renovation and possible expansion of the Ianni Building.

On February 22, 2018, the University initiated a competitive procurement process by issuing a Request For Proposal for the Contract for Prime Consultant Services of the Ron W. Ianni Law Building Project. We hope to have contracted with a Prime Consultant by the end of May 2018, with the Project’s Phase One -planning and design services- commencing immediately. There will be extensive consultations with students, faculty and staff during this planning and design phase. Pending approval from the Board of Governors, construction could begin as early as Summer of 2019, with construction completed in time for the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester. I look forward to your support and hearing your ideas during the consultation phase!

- Christopher Waters, Dean of Law