By Amanda MacDonald
Ryerson’s recently remodelled Image Centre (RIC) received Architectural Lighting magazine’s 2012 Light & Architecture Design Award for best use of colour late last month.
The building, designed by Toronto- based Diamond Schmitt Architects, illuminates the once dreary, windowless home of the School of Image Arts.
“I think it’s a huge success,” said Peggy Theodore, the DSAI project director for the RIC. “It captures all the various elements we were striving for: transparency, identifi cation, high design quality and the ability to see it from afar.”
Three glass walls encase the structure on the north, west and east sides, and are supported by a light steel frame. Between the two layers of glass in the upper panels are multi-coloured LED lights that help bring the building to life. Offi cially, there are 16.7 million possible colour combinations — a feature soon to be controlled by a mobile app.
Described as a “problem for management” by Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, the building’s design and its award have placed added pressure on the university as they will be forced to constantly monitor what has been described as the building’s responsibility as a “communication vehicle.”
“You cannot afford not to maintain that building,” Levy said. “If a light bulb is gone anywhere else in the university, no one knows; but [if] you have one light out in that building, everyone knows.”
The building has been renovated to include classrooms, a photography gallery and a research centre. The gallery will display 300,000 pieces of 20th-century photojournalism in the inaugural Black Star collection. Throughout the year there will be different exhibits, such as The Art of Archives and Human Rights, Human Wrongs.
The RIC will be offi cially open to the public on Sept. 29 in correlation with Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche.