Taché Hall Music, Art & Theatre Complex - University of Manitoba

As Originally Seen in Award Magazine www.canadawide.com

The University of Manitoba is currently undergoing phase three of a four phase upgrade to house the Desautels Faculty of Music, the Faculty of Arts Black Hole Theatre Company and students from the School of Art. The first phase saw the addition of a new award-winning building named the Art Research Technology lab (ARTlab) – home to the School of Art that opened in 2012. Adjacent to the ARTlab, the second phase is a comprehensive renovation and adaptive re-use of the 100-year-old Taché Residence Hall for both Music and Art.

“The transformation of the historic Taché Hall is part of a larger plan to restore the University’s prominent historic buildings, offering students modern places and spaces that inspire,” explains Andrew Konowalchuk, the University’s associate-VP of administration. “Through a combination of renovation and new construction, the University is ensuring our facilities meet today’s technological and environmental standards, while preserving and celebrating buildings with historic significance.”

Built in 1912, Taché Hall was the largest of the original campus buildings and was built as a residence hall in the quadrangle at the heart of campus. Consistent with its contemporary University structures, Taché Hall was designed in the Georgian style with two four-storey wings and a central block. The salmon-red brick, limestone detailing, cornices, columns and clay tile roof have all been preserved, along with the central, classically-detailed portico entrance flanked by twin block towers.

Inside, the original terrazzo flooring in the public corridors has been restored and the stately wood door casings have been repaired and finished. “The updated complex reflects the juxtaposition of old and new,” says David Kressock, lead architect on the project from LM Architectural Group. “Original embossed wall panelling and crown mouldings on the exterior walls have been repaired and painted white to create a classic surrounding for the contemporary-styled, glass-enclosed music library and listening room, with their crisp minimal detailing and vivid yellow accents.”

Structurally, the repurposing of the beautiful heritage building did present the teams with some challenges as it transitioned from dormitory to assembly use. “The existing floors carried a live load of 50-pounds per square foot but most assembly occupancy requires 100-pounds per square foot,” says Bart Flisak, lead structural engineer on the project at Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd.

Moreover, the masonry bearing walls supported a relatively thin five-inch concrete slab among the multitude of small rooms of the original 144,000-squarefoot floor plan. “This made it difficult to remove walls or provide large openings to combine spaces without incurring significant structural load transfer,” comments Kressock. Flisak adds that select areas, such as washrooms, a few small classrooms and the mechanical rooms have had the floors reinforced on the underside with steel beams and channels to increase the load capacity.

For these reasons, Taché is filled with thesis rooms and small rehearsal rooms that match the occupant live load of the original building.

The Desautels Faculty of Music also needed larger rehearsal rooms and classrooms for students, so phase three, a new 52,000-square-foot addition, is under construction on the south side of the existing Taché Hall. It contains custom- designed spaces for band, orchestra, choir, opera and electro-acoustical programs, and is expected to be completed in 2017.

“The new addition was designed to comply with LEED Silver designation, though as an interior renovation the upgrade to Taché Hall isn’t targeting LEED requirements,” comments Padraic O’Connell, LEED consultant on the project from MMM Group Ltd.

Given its age, it comes as no surprise that the stately Taché Hall needed some significant improvements to its mechanical and electrical systems, which were essentially stripped down to their shell. “Virtually nothing was salvageable from Taché’s mechanical system,” says Jeff Horrocks, lead mechanical engineer on the project from SMS Engineering Ltd. “The building had hot water radiation that was aged, limited corridor ventilation, no fire protection and no air conditioning.”

In order to bring the building up to code, central fan rooms were installed on each floor that provide HVAC to public corridors and common areas. The mechanical systems are fed from the University’s central energy plant system for chilled water and steam, which is then converted to hot water. All radiant heat was removed and replaced with four-pipe fan coil units in each room that offer individually controlled heating and cooling.

“The Desautels Faculty of Music, with its multitude of pianos and other wood instruments, had requested a humidity controlled environment,” notes Horrocks. To that end, the exterior walls were upgraded with strapping and closed-cell spray foam to provide much needed insulation as well as an air and vapour barrier.

The upgraded exterior walls conceal much of the new electrical and data requirements. “Like the mechanical systems, all existing electrical services were dated and non-code compliant,” states Ken Isaac, lead electrical construction administrator on the project at MCW/AGE. “They were all removed and stripped back to the source.” Unfortunately, the site is located on a part of campus that did not have sufficient electrical service. “A new medium voltage power supply and switchgear were brought in to power the Taché redevelopment,” explains Jackman.

The site also created challenges for the new addition. With two streets framing Taché Hall to the north and west, and two existing buildings hugging it from the south, creating space for the addition required the removal of some of the former residential wings of Taché.

“Since the original Hall foundations consisted of spread footings and not piles, we had to ensure that renovations to the existing building and the placement of the new addition to the south would not undermine these footings or require significant underpinning,” recalls Flisak. “Both scenarios would be cost-prohibitive.” To that end, the new addition has been kept away from Taché’s southern facade, creating courtyards that separate old from new. There are only three points where the new building reaches out to connect to the existing Taché Hall.

“The University of Manitoba has been a leader in moving our province to the forefront of the national cultural scene,” notes Konowalchuk. “The Taché Arts Project is building on this legacy by creating the best possible learning and research environment for future musicians, artists, theatre professionals and cultural scholars.”

LOCATION : University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba  
OWNER/DEVELOPER : University of Manitoba  
ARCHITECTS : Patkau Architects/LM Architectural Group  
GENERAL CONTRACTOR : Bird Construction Company  
STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT : ​Crosier Kilgour & Partners Ltd.  
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT : Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram  
TOTAL SIZE : 196,000 square feet (144,000 Taché Hall; 52,000 new addition)  
TOTAL COST : $55 million (Phase two and three)
Taché Hall Music, Art & Theatre Complex - University Of Manitoba : News & Media : Bird Construction