Architecture students and Saint Paul University – Conservation and Sustainability Guide Students’ Creative Imagination

Jonh Dance

Carleton University architecture students have bold but compatible designs for a notional new addition to Saint Paul University (SPU) that would host a multipurpose space for 1,000 people.

The 17 third-year students of the unique Conservation and Sustainability program at Carleton’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism spent their “studio” time last fall designing an addition that, were it to be built, would satisfy diverse challenges, including ensuring the new addition would add value to existing structures rather than destroying their character and identity.

The students worked in teams and produced professional-looking renderings and models that were subject to the critiques of a panel of architects in December.

Federico Lacasia and Ryan Yang Zhang’s proposal would provide an inside market space in the winter. Image by Federico Lacasia and Ryan Yang Zhang

Federico Lacasia and Ryan Yang Zhang’s proposal would provide an inside market space in the winter. Image by Federico Lacasia and Ryan Yang Zhang

As their architecture professor Mariana Esponda puts it, the key to the students’ work was the need to “understand and respect heritage values and character-defining elements in order to protect these values with the contemporary addition.” Also, students were required to take a consultative approach with clients, community and stakeholders to identify main needs; and to apply sustainable design strategies.

The design concept of students Jessica Babe and Mary Hanna, as they describe it, “unravels through both interior and exterior spaces until it reaches a peak above the central core of the addition, a celebrated, multi-functional space within the university.” An inviting feature of the design is a skating rink in an adjoining courtyard, readily visible from the new multi-purpose space.

Melina Grandmont, Karli Bijawoski and Clarisse Miranda’s proposal adds the “missing wing” to the SPU campus. Image by Melina Grandmont, Karli Bijawoski and Clarisse Mirandsa

Melina Grandmont, Karli Bijawoski and Clarisse Miranda’s proposal adds the “missing wing” to the SPU campus. Image by Melina Grandmont, Karli Bijawoski and Clarisse Mirandsa

Their classmates, Federico Lacasia and Ryan Yang Zhang’s proposal “modified the connection between Saint Paul’s Laframboise Hall and Guigues Hall by elevating it. Thus, the modification establishes a celebrated entrance to the campus and reveals its interior green space…The multi-purpose convocation hall was placed on an existing underappreciated parking lot in the university and designed smaller than the existing buildings so it would not outshine the existing university buildings.”

Melina Grandmont, Karli Bijawoski and Clarisse Miranda’s proposal located the addition at the north end of campus, “attaching to Guigues Hall and creating a linear massing along both Main Street and Hazel Street. The location of our addition was meant to complete the balance in the existing building’s shape by adding the “missing wing” on the Northside of Guigues and creating a supplementary courtyard between our addition and the central transept.”

Starry Night: An inviting feature of Jessica Babe and Mary Hanna’s design is a skating rink readily visible from the new multi-purpose space. Image by  Jessica Babe and Mary Hanna

Starry Night: An inviting feature of Jessica Babe and Mary Hanna’s design is a skating rink readily visible from the new multi-purpose space. Image by Jessica Babe and Mary Hanna


 
While, for now, the designs were simply fascinating creative exercises for the Carleton architecture students, some day Saint Paul University could have a new multi-purpose hall and these students might inspire some professional architects to design creatively and respectfully on the SPU campus.

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