Humber College Fashion Institute

The Humber College Fashion Institute is the newest addition to Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus. The college has been re-purposing neighbouring buildings to expand its facilities, creating distinct buildings that are purposefully tailored to suit the character and the requirements of “real world” work environments.

The Fashion Institute transforms a ‘swingers’ bar’ from a dark, insular and enclosed space into a fresh and alluring school for budding fashion designers. From the street, the building projects a clean and graphic image. A large display window extending across the full frontage is sandwiched between graphite bands. As the window display changes, the school will take on different character and renew interest with passersby.

On the interior the walls were peeled back, exposing the raw brick which stand in contrast to the crisp new finishes. The design starts with a central ‘spine’, dividing classrooms on one side and a student lounge, library, a faculty meeting room and offices on the other. The plan is predicated on transparency and designed to foster interaction. Classrooms have slot windows inviting curiosity and a large cutout in the corridor wall puts the student lounge on display — appropriate for students who tend to enjoy spectacle. Full height translucent sliding acrylic panels allow the students to easily change the front façade’s window display and the amount of exposure into the classroom.

Interiors glazed showcases strategically placed in the corridor draw a consistency with the exterior display window and fetishize the students’ work. Splashes of gutsy hot pink and canary yellow visually pop from the otherwise graphite finishes, establishing a distinct and playful verve. Sustainable materials were used such as espresso stained strip bamboo flooring (zero formaldehyde), linoleum flooring and bulletin boards made from sustainably managed cork products. The materials are economical and focused on maintenance and durability.

The project achieves reductions in costs and environmental impacts associated with new construction. By providing facilities for increased student enrollment, Humber College is revitalizing the community and regenerating local business. The Fashion Institute achieves the college’s need to accommodate significant program demand, and continues to attract an exceptional number of prospective students.

Humber College, Toronto, ON
Size:  10,000 sq. ft.
Completion:  September 2010

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