- Designs Unveiled for Minnesota Orchestra Hall
April 09, 2010
- Koerner Hall: With clever lighting, an instant opera house
March 18, 2010
- Elizabeth Paden wins the Canada Council for the Arts Prix de Rome
March 11, 2010
- Manitoba Hydro Place named Building of the Year
March 05, 2010
- George Brown College bringing its bustle to the waterfront
February 23, 2010
- Wave Effect: Jeanne Gang and architecture’s anti-divas
February 01, 2010
- KPMB wins 2010 AIA Institute Honor Award for Ryerson University Master Plan
January 15, 2010
- A peek inside the renewed Canadian Museum of Nature
January 06, 2010
- 21st century enlightenment at the Museum of Nature
January 03, 2010
- Canada's Most Important Building
December 19, 2009
September 25, 2009 | Lisa Rochon | Globe and Mail
"The reimagined headquarters for the RCM includes an L-shaped wing of offices, classrooms and music-practice rooms around historic McMaster Hall. A splendid rehearsal hall, called Conservatory Theatre, is set above the new front lobby on Bloor Street West. It's a tough piece of minimalism clad in fils gris black slate from Spain, and is designed not to shirk away from the adjoining McMaster Hall, with its robust Credit Valley red stone, but to match its fearsome presence.
Of course, the original 1881 building had a lot to prove: It was designed in high-Victorian style as a residential college for students preparing to become Baptist ministers. Note the abundance of chimneys, Romanesque arches and ornamental frippery arranged by Langley, Langley and Burke, specialists in church architecture. In 1901, Castle Memorial Hall, now the Mazzoleni Concert Hall, was completed in the more sober Romanesque-revival style.
In 1991, KPMB Architects completed a master plan for the conservatory with a recommendation to restore the unique McMaster building. (The board had been toying with the idea of moving McMaster Hall to a new centre in North York.) In 1997, Mazzoleni Hall was renovated by KPMB's Marianne McKenna and Bob Sims to include a raked floor and acoustic panels. Windows were unblocked (an unfortunate shuttering intervention from the 1960s) and the stage was enlarged. During the 1990s, about $10-million was spent on restoring the historic building; the slate roof was replaced.
Meanwhile, RCM director Peter Simon struggled with how to finance a much larger, more significant cultural institution for the city of Toronto. A 10-storey tower for music studios on the west side of the RCM was considered and, in 2000, KPMB Architects conceived of a scheme with a hotel planted next to McMaster Hall. Finally, in 2002, $50-million in funding from the provincial and federal governments came through and, shortly after, the idea of cutting a connecting atrium and promenade around the back of McMaster Hall was conceived, with a new performance hall set on rubber pads.
To make way for the new Telus Centre, the East Wing (1907), which had never been historically designated, was torn down in 2006. A fierce and patient advocate for the conservatory, McKenna produced countless renderings and graphite sketches for the building's executive and board. Her son, who was a toddler at the beginning of the process, attended last week's Hard Hat Concert at Koerner Hall. He is now 24."
Globe and Mail, Lisa Rochon, September 25th, 2009