Architects present vision of new JDUC at town hall

Students pose questions about sustainability, club space in potential JDUC renovation

Architects from the firms HDR Architecture Associates and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) spoke to students on Monday in Wallace Hall about the JDUC renovation project.

The AMS hosted a town hall on Monday for students to learn more about the JDUC revitalization ahead of the upcoming January referendum. 

Architecture firms HDR Architecture Associates and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) are behind the project design. In Wallace Hall, Ted Watson and Donald Chong presented their vision of the new JDUC—based on five pillars—to students. 

The pillars include iconic student identity, bold social spaces, collaborative work zones, inviting place of arrival, and sustainability and innovation.

“This is the stage we get to imagine and come up with a vision,” Watson said. “We’re looking for inspiration. We’re looking for information. We’re looking for input that will make this a building that could only be a Queen’s University building.”

According to Watson, the entire student precinct—the ARC, Mitchell Hall, and the JDUC—was originally envisioned as a three-stage masterplan.

The first stage was the ARC, the second the new Health and Wellness Centre opening later this year, and the third the renovation of the JDUC.

With the redevelopment of the JDUC, Watson said there’s an opportunity to strengthen the access to all three buildings and create a singular entrance to an entire complex of buildings making more room for the flow of students in that area.

“It’s a place where you can get help if you need it, it’s a place to meet your friends, it’s a place for nourishment, to grab a cup of coffee in the morning, to get involved beyond academics,” Watson said. “This is a physical embodiment, this project of that sense of student involvement.”

The firms will incorporate project values like accessibility, daylight, and inclusivity.

“I believe architecture is an expression of values, so it can speak of things that are important to the people,” Watson said.

The pair also wants to make the new building a social hub, a place for students to function outside of their academic lives.

“We’ve heard a lot that the building is not functioning the way it was intended from the outset, that it’s not a space that really draws students,” Watson said. “It’s not a place that you choose to hang out.” 

“This really needs to be that social space that brings people together,” he added.

The firms also stressed how they will respect the heritage of the JDUC and enhance it.

“We’ll love that challenge of making a modern building that is sympathetic to and enhances the heritage value, which we’re starting to discover more is the unique character of Queen’s University,” Watson said.

After their presentation, Watson and Chong opened up the floor for student questions. One  question expressed concern about how specific club space will be maintained in a building focused on duality of space.

In response, Watson said the new JDUC will have even more club space available than the current building.

A number of students asked about sustainability efforts, especially considering the high amount of food purchased on campus and possibilities for solar panels and roof greenhouses.

The pair maintained that, although the project is in its early stages and there are no specific sustainability initiatives in the works yet, they’re committed to sustainability as one of their project values.

Students can currently participate in a consultation survey regarding the JDUC renovation plans.

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