It may come as a a bit of a surprise, but not all buildings housing architecture schools are architecturally great. This new one in Sudbury, however, I’d say ranks up there. Serving the north and indigenous communities, it’s a nice mix of old and new, rough and refined, and features a plethora of nice rooms and spaces, using sight lines, structure, geometry, and light to create little exiting moments. As a bonus, it began with some adaptive reuse of existing buildings (including an old train station), and sports a lovely planeted roof.
Sudbury’s a pretty industrial town, so it’s cool to me that the school abuts the working rail line right in the heart of downtown (also, hence the ability to incorporate an old train station). Arranged to form a couple of courtyards and exterior exhibition spaces, the exterior is mostly low-key, but (much like the inside) decisively punctuated by moments that carve a strong identity: the corner angled cantilever, the inset signage, and the interplay between old and new.
The inside speaks mostly for itself through these pictures. The architects used the structure to great effect, bringing to bear both robust steel frames as well as large cross-laminated timber beams. Elsewhere, the existing wood trusses and rough-cut columns from one of the reused buildings lends an appropriate air to the school’s fabrication shop. With both mezzanines and cuts into the ground, height is leveraged to allow for both light and views to travel, allowing students and the public to see all the goings-on.
From the grand critique pit to the small reading nooks, the design nicely mixes up the scale and flexibility of use. Coupled with long vistas of repeating elements, there’s excitement and interest everywhere you look.
Very nifty, expertly done, and a great place to start your architectural education. The McEwen School of Architecture by LGA Architectural Partners.