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In pictures: From beer warehouse to a new media showpiece

View the evolution of Ryerson University’s School of Visual Arts on the downtown Toronto campus

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Before: A view looking east at the windowless, yellow-brick former brewery warehouse – home to Ryerson University’s School of Visual Arts on the downtown Toronto campus.

Diamond Schmitt Architects

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After, by day: Diamond Schmitt Architects’ winning design renovates and expands the building with an opaque glass surface on the upper floors. The Ryerson Image Arts Centre now rises over Devonian Park – a reflecting pond in summer, a skating surface in winter.

Diamond Schmitt Architects

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After, by night: Turn on the colour. The upper floors glow. The double-skin cladding conceals an LED lighting system that illuminates the building.

Tom Arban

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The Image Arts Centre has won the 2012 AL Light & Architecture Design Award for the best use of ‘exuberant’ colour on its exterior canvas.

Tom Arban

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At night, the one- by three-metre panels glow separately or in unison across four facades with 16.7 million different colour combinations possible.

Tom Arban

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Artists, students and the public will be invited to create lighting sequences using a Ryerson-designed app. ‘The building will speak to the city through its lighting,’ Ryerson President Sheldon Levy says.

Tom Arban

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Inside, the $70-million update includes student seating, a gallery and research and archive space dedicated to the photographic arts. The building will also house the Black Star Collection of 300,000 images of 20th-century photojournalism.

Tom Arban

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By day: the northwest corner of the Image Arts Centre. The university hopes the gallery, with its free admission, will become Toronto’s newest cultural destination.

Tom Arban

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By night: the northwest corner. Donald Schmitt, principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects and the lead architect on the project, says the lighting serves as an outward expression of the visual art activity inside the building. ‘The building’s envelope encourages experimentation and creation.’

Tom Arban

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