Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts, Mount Allison University

Sackville, New Brunswick

Design Thinking: The Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts is the first new campus building for Mount Allison University in three decades. Prominently located on Main Street, the building acts as a new gateway to the campus and gives Mount Allison a strong identity within the community. The building’s red rock-faced ashlar sandstone exterior matches the traditional campus buildings, integrating it with its surrounding context.

The Centre is a story about creating a village for the arts: a village that fits within the context of the campus, and supports the intellectual and cultural development of the Mount Allison community. The design centres on the idea of a meeting place that offers learning experiences through formal and informal spaces. Three volumes come together in a multi-level common space that invite a variety of creative uses and cross-department interactions.

Key Features: The building features specialized fine arts studios, workshops, offices, classrooms, meeting spaces, and a flexible 100-seat theatre with separate staging and assembly space. The Theatre combines old and new features with sophisticated sound and lighting equipment, as well as additional space for teaching and collaborating. The Theatre also has a flexible capacity through the use of telescopic seating with the potential to expand seating options for much larger audiences.

Continuous clerestory glazing throughout studios and workshops let daylight penetrate into interior spaces and public corridors. The Centre has received three Green Globes with an achievement of 31% savings over the Model National Energy Code for Buildings. Sustainable design efforts focused on creating a high quality interior environment with respect to air quality, daylighting and energy management. The building is almost entirely naturally ventilated, with the exception of the self-contained Theatre whose walls are made of recycled wood.

In association with:
Martin Patriquin Architects
Client: Mount Allison University
Size: 50,000 sq.ft. (4,645 sq.m.)
Sustainability: Three Green Globes