HPA was one of three firms shortlisted from a wide and enthusiastic show of interest from the international architecture community. The elegant forms and interwoven composition of HPA’s design set them apart with a concept that draws a distinguished profile off the Commons of York University’s Keele Campus while also creating a point of connection through the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design.
Hariri’s signature curves will set the frame for a three-storey building that will include a ground level event space with four separate galleries set within a redefined xeriscape garden. The new building will combine with the gallery’s current spaces to form a unified art institution that will magnify the breadth of AGYU’s critical contemporary art program while also re-envisioning the scope of the University’s art collection. The AGYU has a long history as a leader in presenting and supporting artists; established in 1988, the gallery has maintained a commitment to contemporary art, building a critical program that entwines an aesthetic and social function to create a multifaceted understanding of community.
The design was selected for its visual strength to reach across the Commons as a magnetizing draw, with a vision to generate flow and connection while centering the arts on campus. Their design expressed a nuanced understanding of art—its role in society as well as the framework needed to support art and the curatorial process. Their skill-set and approach makes them well suited to build an iconic gallery that is integrated into the site, and their past work proves them to be experimental and innovative in building design and usage. HPA used the site for the new building in a manner that is holistic and considered, stating the “site uniquely situated off of the most prominent open space on the campus and adjacent to the Accolade East Building … located close to the new subway entrance, the new gallery will have a strong visible presence and has an opportunity to become an attractor for art enthusiasts to the campus. By tying into the existing colonnade, the new building will knit into the existing fabric of the campus buildings while expanding the Gallery’s offerings and becoming a welcoming space for visitors in all seasons.” Over the years, HPA has had the opportunity to work with some of Canada’s most significant universities and cultural organizations, most recently opening the Tom Patterson Theatre in Stratford, which has received much deserved accolades. Siamak Hariri’s design for the Bahá’í Temple in Chile has receive rippling praise across international architecture circles and won numerous awards, including the RAIC International Prize. HPA has previously worked with York University and are very familiar with the new gallery’s site located at the heart of the University’s Keele Campus. They also worked on the Schulich School of Business, a world-class learning complex on the campus.
gh3* and Moriyama & Teshima Architect were also on the shortlist for design proposals. All three firms have designed public and cultural facilities, and each has received numerous awards including the Governor General Medal in Architecture.