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Artscape's Daniels Spectrum wins international design award

Toronto has two more award-winning buildings.

Daniels Spectrum, the Regent Park community centre designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and run by Artscape, and the Rotman School of Management at U of T (KPMB) have won Architectural Record's Good Design Is Good Business Award, which according to the journal is given out to "demonstrate how embracing design can benefit an organization’s bottom line."

It was one of 10 given out internationally this year, and Toronto is the only city represented twice.

An award for design and business is perhaps not so surprising for a business school. But a community centre is a little less intuitive a choice.

But Daniels Spectrum, developed by the Daniels Corporation, is in the business of community outreach, and according to Seema Jethalal, who heads the place up for Artscape, it makes good sense--business and otherwise.

"Daniels Spectrum has a modular design that lends itself well to users with different needs," she says. "The 6,000 square foot Ada Slaight Hall, for instance, has been set up in dozens of configurations thanks to its partition walls and a retractable seating system."

In any given weekm Jethalal continues, the space can be divided to suit simultaneous events with different needs--from dance performances, to cinema-style film screenings, to art shows, banquet-style gala fundraisers, and 10-piece band performances.

But what sets it apart is the involvement Daniels Spectrum's tenants had in the initial design. 

"Each of the tenant organizations at Daniels Spectrum worked with Diamond Schmitt Architects to design their studios with their respective audiences in mind. Native Earth Performing Arts has a unique ventilation system to allow smudging in Aki Studio (a 120-seat black box theatre), ArtHeart Community Art Centre has a built in kitchen in their art studio so they can provide free meals for drop-in participants, and COBA Collective of Black Artists' drumming and dance studios have been built with a unique sound design to limit sound bleed."

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Seema Jethalal
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