Queen's University John Deutsch University Centre Redevelopment
Client : Queen’s University
Area : 93,500 sf
Program : Student Hub, Student Lounge, Group Study Rooms, Wellness Centre, Meeting Rooms, Counseling Service Spaces, Student & Faculty Offices, Administrative and Support Spaces
Associated Architects : HDR
MJMA’s expansion and renovation of Queen’s John Deutsch University Centre in Kingston, Ontario, will transform the residence and social hub into a fully accessible, vibrant and sustainable home for student life on campus. The expanded entrance wing will not only add space for students to gather and relax, learn and socialize, but also revamp the Centre’s ground plane and its relationship to its neighbours, repositioning it as a new front door to campus.
Located at the convergence of cross-campus paths, the new addition floats above a sunken plaza on a glazed pedestal. By clarifying the pedestrian promenades and public circulation routes that link the building to its site—and link the adjacent buildings to the precinct—this street-level transformation promotes connections across the heart of the campus.
Thanks to the strategic use of limestone and masonry, the new Centre is approachable and modern even while integrating seamlessly with the surrounding heritage buildings. Along University Avenue, the extension’s western façade is clad in a series of vertical piers canted slightly to accommodate north-facing windows that shower diffuse light onto a showcase stair; these louver-like piers mirror the vertical lines of the existing JDUC structure and reference the materiality of the neighbouring architecture, even while expressing a uniquely dynamic identity. The elevations perpendicular to University Avenue incorporate generous glazing: a two-storey curtain wall faces south, toward the main heritage structure, while a partially cantilevered “viewfinder” aperture admits ample northerly light into the gathering space at the top of the showcase stair.
The 93,500-square-foot interior—half new, half renovation to the existing structure—comprises student and faculty offices, club meeting rooms and boardrooms, an integrated wellness space, food and concession vendors, study and social lounges, and the featured amphitheatre-like stair that connects the second and third levels. These are organized around a core of common spaces linked by a figure-8 path that winds up through the addition, mediating the extension’s relationship to the existing structure and culminating in a double-height agora space. This student atrium and events hall is timber-framed to mitigate its carbon footprint and to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that corresponds to the timber structure of its neighbour, Wallace Hall.