Exterior lighting system at Ryerson Image Centre wins architecture design award for use of colour

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The School of Image Arts opened to students last year, while the Ryerson Image Centre makes its public debut on Saturday September 29 as part of the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche all-night art event. The Image Centre is a national and international facility “for the study, teaching, research and exhibition of photography and related media,” and houses the renowned Black Star Collection of nearly292,000 photojournalistic prints.

I love the building not only since its glass exterior brightens adjacent Bond and Gould Streets by day, but also because at night the LED system inside the double-skin glass cladding on three facades illuminates the building, campus and beyond — I can even see the subtle glow of the constantly-changing colours from my condo five blocks to the northeast.

 

Architects transformed a former brewery warehouse

The image arts school originally was a brewery warehouse — a yellowish-brown brick building with few windows — that essentially established a solid wall along Bond and Gould Streets in the heart of the Ryerson University campus. The big brick structure did nothing to enhance the surrounding streetscape, while the hideous, hulking building one block to its west at 10 Dundas Street (the retail, restaurant and entertainment emporium formerly called Toronto Life Square) had an even harsher impact on the campus, looming above Victoria Street and casting its dark grey shadow across the “Lake Devo” summer pond/winter skating rink beside the image arts facility.

I pass through the campus about once a week, and felt a tremendous sense of relief back in early 2010 when I walked along Gould Street, saw parts of the brick building being dismantled, and noticed a billboard with an architectural rendering showing the dramatic new look Diamond Schmitt had conceived for the image arts school. As I have watched the structure take shape during the past two years, I’ve been amazed at how significantly it has transformed and improved the overall appearance and atmosphere of the university campus. By day, it makes the adjacent  streets feel more airy and bright, while at night the LED lights in the facade as well as the building’s interior lighting cast a soft, warm glow across the campus. (If only we could get Diamond Schmitt to push the building envelope once more and work similar transformational magic on the monstrosity at 10 Dundas East … )

 

16.7 million colour combinations possible

The Image Centre’s LED system is contained in hundreds of panels of double-skin glass cladding that appear opaque in daylight but, at night, glow either individually or in unison, animating the building exterior and surrounding area with regularly-changing colours. The system can create 16.7 million different colour combinations.

According to a Diamond Schmitt media release, “Active programming of the Ryerson Image Centre light installation will be commissioned to artists and students and even the public, who can create lighting sequences of their own using a Ryerson-designed app to interact and exert creative control over the building’s electronic canvas.” The videoclip below, shot by Tom Arban, offers a preview of some of the lighting sequences that have been displayed. That’s followed by a series of photos I have shot of the new building.

 

 

A new gallery to light up the night in Toronto from DiamondSchmittArchitects on Vimeo.

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

A rendering of the Diamond Schmitt Architects design appeared on this sign next to the School of Image Arts/Ryerson Image Centre construction site

 

Original Ryerson School of Image Arts building

This is how the university building looked March 8 2010, when sections of the former brewery warehouse were being dismantled during early stages of construction

 

Original Ryerson School of Image Arts building

March 8 2010: Looking north along Bond Street toward the original Image Arts building

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts original building

March 8 201: Another Bond Street view of the building as it undergoes renovation

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

August 30 201: The frame of the enlarged new building quickly takes shape

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

October 20 2010: Glass installation underway on the Bond Street side of the building

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

Nov 11 2010: The School of Image Arts’ Gould Street facade viewed from inside the entrance to Ryerson’s Kerr Hall quadrangle

 

Ryerson Image Centre

November 11 2010: Gould Street view of the building’s northwest corner, where the entrance to the Ryerson Image Centre is situated

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts facade

December 21 2010: The Kerr Hall clocktower casts its reflection in the Gould Street facade of the School of Image Arts

 

Ryerson Image Centre

December 21 2010: Gould Street view of the west facade of the Image Centre

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

February 25 2011: The building’s lighting system shows its colours on a cold winter evening

 

Ryreson School of Image Arts

April 30 2011

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 3 2011: Finishing touches underway on the School of Image Arts entrance at the northwest corner of Bond & Gould Streets

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 3 2011: A double allée of trees has been planted along the Gould Street facade of the building

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

January 30 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

 January 30 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

January 30 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

February 17 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

February 17 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

February 17 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 6 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 6 2012

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012: School of Image Arts entrance at Bond & Gould

 

Ryerson School of Image Arts

September 9 2012:  A new Balzac’s café occupies the building’s northeast corner, and has outdoor seating next to the tree-lined Gould Street sidewalk

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 9 2012: Finishing touches underway on the Ryerson Image Centre entrance. The gallery opens September 29 during the Scotiabank Nuite Blanche all-night art event.

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

 September 9 2012

 

 Ryerson Image Centre

 September 9 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 9 2012

 

Ryerson Image Centre

September 9 2012

 

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