Public praises plans for Performing Arts Centre
Public reaction was overwhelmingly positive to plans unveiled Monday evening for the university's proposed new Performing Arts Centre. More than 100 members of the Kingston and Queen's communities filled Macdonald Hall Auditorium to learn more about proposed plans for the complex, which will be located across from St. Mary's-of-the-Lake Hospital on Kingston's waterfront.
Architect Craig Dykers from the Norwegian firm Snohetta – responsible for the national opera house in Oslo and the 9/11 monument to be erected in New York – presented slides and unveiled a replica of the complex, which will incorporate a 550-seat concert hall with facilities and collaborative space for the departments of Music, Drama, Art, and Film and Media. The renovated Stella Buck building will be home to these new classrooms and rehearsal spaces.
Mr. Dykers emphasized the importance that has been placed on preserving the history of the site in a homogenous blend of the old and the new, and on incorporating landscape into the design: “connecting the buildings with nature, and possible future development of the waterfront.” Accessibility and environmental considerations were also key, he added.
Following the presentation, members of the design team responded to questions about the location and design of the building, and proposed plans for the complex. Concerns about parking and public transportation to and from evening performances were addressed by Queen's Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne, who said that the university is working closely with Corrections Canada and the city to find solutions.
The evening ended with a round of spontaneous applause after one community member described the design as “absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.”