Quadrangle Architects Limited tackles the challenge of creating a new cultural centre for Canada’s deaf community
Spread over two levels and occupying 4,500 square feet, the Centre features a museum, an art gallery, a gift shop, research and archives, offices, and a multimedia production studio.
Because the usual architectural and design issues of soundproofing were not a factor in this project, Quadrangle was free to create open spaces in the Centre using half walls in offices and boardrooms to give the areas a larger and more airy feel that creates a distinct sense of openness and privacy at the same time.
Designing for the Deaf community also necessitated some unique design solutions, such as glass panels between offices to create sightlines for communication, ledges throughout the Centre so hands can be freed for sign language and vibrant colours that speak to the Deaf community’s need to visually relate to their space.
As inspiration for this small multi-purpose space with media elements, Quadrangle looked to one of its most successful ongoing projects, Citytv, for ideas and incorporated many elements of the Citytv design philosophy into the Centre, such as open concept flexible spaces and a smooth flow throughout the building. Using design elements such as moveable walls and screens, the Centre’s space expands or contracts to be comfortably used by two or two hundred people.
The open concept first floor functions as an exhibit area that can easily be transformed into a space suitable for events, a kitchen where cooking demonstrations can take place, a greeting area tailored to large groups of visiting school children, a reception area and a gift shop.
Upstairs, the open flow continues with a boardroom that can also be used as a training room and exhibit space, an open multimedia studio with Internet broadcasting as well as offices and archives.