Architecture—Latin style

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If third-year architecture students had their way, the latest hot spot for so hip-they-hurt Ryerson students wouldn’t be another boring engineering building. It would be a Cuban-Latino Jazz club called Mazucamba in Toronto’s haughty Yorkville district.

Mazucamba is a fictitious nightclub assigned to third-year architecture students as their major projects of the year. Each student had to design the club, based on the LAtin jazz music theme.

“Latin Jazz is a very complex phenomenon that involves the sociological, psychological and cultural elements of society,” said Yew-Thong Leong, an architecture professor who teaches third-year students. “Architecture is composed of the same elements as well.”
Mazucamba is an Afro-Cuban term meaning “the pride in the consortium in its Hispanic [Latino] culture.”

All the students were given the same assignment, but each had to produce an individual design that incorporated live Cuban fusion-Latin jazz music with Venezuelan-Colombian cuisine served by an exceptional wait staff.

The project, worth 35-percent of students’ final marks, was a refreshing change for  many from the basic drawings and small building designs they did in their first and second years at Ryerson.

Students spent last semester studying the feasibility of developing the site for Mazucamba and began working on their designs in January.
Each took a different approach to designing the downtown nightclub.

Sheena Gilman took a down-to-earth, functional approach to her design.

She didn’t set out with a metaphorical image in mind before she started designing, but did stick closely to a Latin Jazz theme.

While some of her classmates had ideas about using palm trees and building beaches inside the club, Gilman chose to stick with the basics.

IN her design, the second floor opens up to a stage visible from the dining room and the dance floor.

“One thing that was stated [in the assignment outline] … was that the live entertainment would be the focus of the place,” she says. “SO I wanted everything to have a relationship with the stage.”

Gilman said Mazucamba presented nw challenges for her, including having to concentrate on interior design, something she had not done in previous projects.

Leong said the most important lesson students learned was how to design a building, from researching the feasibility to drawing the structure. The Latin Jazz theme was immaterial.

However, other professors thought the theme was crucial to the project. Baruch Zone have his student a brief lecture on Afro-Cuban music and Latin rhythms. Zone felt the music policy ruled.

“The architecture becomes a backdrop for the clothes, the music—and it should basically conjure up a feeling … of a night away from Canada down into the Caribbean,” he said.

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