Downtown residents and merchants were excited by what they saw of the University’s plans during an open house Thursday at the Windsor Armouries.
“I think the value of my house is going to shoot up,” said Jon Liedtke, whose home on Victoria Avenue is within walking distance of the three buildings slated for the downtown campus. He was one of dozens of community members who turned out to view renderings, speak with University officials, and grill architects on the details.
Representatives from the architectural firms planning the development of the UWindsor’s downtown campus will be on hand Thursday to discuss renovations to the Windsor Armouries, the former bus depot across the street and the Windsor Star complex several blocks to the west.
CS&P Architects and the heritage consulting firm E.R.A. Architects will present drawings and floor plans reflecting the vision which will bring approximately 1,500 students, faculty and staff into the heart of the city in 2014.
Dillon Hall is a beautiful building, says Megan Corchis: “I think it has great character.”
A fourth-year student in the visual arts and the built environment (VABE) program, Corchis is heading a group of volunteer guides who will lead tours through the building during Doors Open Windsor, which invites the public to view buildings of architectural and historical significance, September 29 and 30.
“Doors Open is about letting people know what’s out there,” says Corchis. “It’s a fun environment to learn about history that relates to Windsor.”
The transfer of city-owned properties to the University of Windsor will advance planning for the development of its downtown campus, president Alan Wildeman said Monday, after Windsor City Council voted to turn the Armouries, the former bus depot and the Chatham Street parkette over to the University.
The downtown campus expansion plans touches on every goal of the University’s strategic plan, said Dr. Wildeman.
Four artists with ties to the University of Windsor’s School of Visual Arts have teamed up to open a working studio in the city’s downtown.
Alumni Arturo Herrera (BFA 2011), Collette Broeders (BFA 2009) and Alana Bartol (BFA 2004) and professor Susan Gold Smith have established their collective enterprise at 110 Park Street West, in the base of Victoria Park Place.
“We were all looking for studio space and we all wanted a space where we were in close contact with other artists—where we could be stimulated by the creative energy of others,” says Bartol.
Krysia Bussiere didn’t have to wait until she graduated for her education in the Visual Arts and the Built Environment program to land her a job. She has a summer position in Toronto working with B+H Architects, the design firm behind the Centre for Engineering Innovation.
When she crosses the stage at Thursday’s Convocation, Bussiere will be among the first class to graduate from the program. She says it has given her a good foundation to build on.
Preliminary renderings of the University of Windsor’s downtown campus were revealed by president Alan Wildeman during a media conference Wednesday, April 17, in the Windsor Armouries.
“The University of Windsor is creating new spaces where our students, faculty and staff can be engaged in innovative teaching, learning and discovery, and where they can more effectively partner with the arts community and social agencies to make a difference,” Dr. Wildeman said.
A free public reception Thursday, March 15, will celebrate the opening of Origins, an exhibition showcasing the projects of students completing their first year in the Visual Arts and the Built Environment (VABE) program, at 5 p.m. in the LeBel Building’s SoVA Projects Gallery.
To Chris Zahaluk, architecture is a pure art form that goes far beyond the pragmatic functionality of designing useful buildings.
“Every time I do a project, (visual art) is the first thing I turn to as a source of inspiration,” said Zahaluk, a third year student in Visual Arts and the Built Environment (VABE) and a member of that program’s charter class. “That’s how I integrate creativity into my work. You design spaces for the people who are going to be using them, but it’s not just a building. It’s a whole lot more than that.”
Renovating Windsor’s downtown armouries provides an excellent opportunity to create a new “precinct for the arts” that would promote inspiration and serendipitous interdisciplinary collaboration, according to one of the architects overseeing the project.