Thursday 21 Oct 2010


Turn of the century leather factory gets high tech makeover from raw design

The conversion of two blocks (over 28,000 sq m) of a turn of the century tannery building in downtown Kitchener into a high-tech mixed use community space is now finally complete, with a two-storey state-of-the art digital media centre to accommodate Waterloo’s tech boom.

With new technologies provided by Communitech, the €1.2m renovation includes public space for digital media demonstrations and large interactive ‘caves’ where researchers can use immersive 3D visualisation technology to test out new content and programs.

Designed by raw design, the 2,600 sq m media ‘hub’ is characterised by unadorned loft-like spaces, office space and event theatres within the renovated building, ideal for industry research and media presentations.

raw design refurbished the ageing infrastructure, originally a tannery and then later a tire warehouse, to allow the re-use of major portions of the building. This high-tech conversion of a dilapidated factory is a successful example of how post-industrial mid-sized cities can restore vibrancy to their downtown cores, while preserving important history and character through strategic planning and design.

The Waterloo region, made famous by communications technology giant Research in Motion, is home to two-thirds of Canada's high tech start-ups. Located in Kitchener’s downtown core with the University of Waterloo nearby, this new development is set to be a magnet for new investment and related industry growth.

Riva Finkelstein

raw design