The John Labatt Visual Arts Center is the new home of Western University’s School of Art as well as its nationally acclaimed slide collection. It is a 3-story, 6,685 m2 (72,000 sf) structure clad in rusticated and smooth-faced dolomitic limestone. The design goal was for the facility to weave into the fabric of the campus despite its remote location, while establishing a unique presence through its bold treatment and expression of form.
Some of the state-of-the-art facilities include various studios for drawing, painting, sculpture and photography, a slide library, a multimedia computing lab, seminar and lecture rooms, a gallery, a sculpture courtyard and a tower for the public display of suspended artwork.
The creation of a visual connection with the heart of the campus was of utmost importance as grade level rises 9 m (30 ft) towards main campus. To achieve this, a clear sightline was drawn between the central campus and the site. The spine of the building is positioned along this axis, which runs through the main entrance. The copper receptor canopy stretches vertically for visual reference and is reinforced by the display tower, which serves as a visual beacon. The curved receptor wall is concave in response to the neighboring Middlesex College convex wall, suggesting two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that fit together.