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A surprising change recently took place at Humber College’s main campus in Etobicoke. A fifty-year-old former funeral space used for teaching was recently transformed into a bright and cheerful teaching daycare. On top of it all, ATA was able to tackle all of the challenging aspects of this project on an exceedingly tight schedule. The renovation included demolishing the majority of the existing rooms while creating new classrooms for the infants and toddlers as well as an observation room; a staff room; an office and other auxiliary rooms.

The complexity of the challenge was exacerbated by the fact the existing link – which encroaches under the existing F building – needed to blend in with a new link that utilized similar exterior materials and colours. The structure that supports the sloping roof leading to the new space is transparent and colourful while incorporating graphics reminiscent of Corbusier murals and Picasso abstracts. The overall approach utilizes soft human-scaled forms in stark contrast with the rectangular antiseptic space that was rehabilitated for this strikingly different use. An observation platform was transformed into a linear light well to meet the daylighting requirements of the daycare.

The new link is designed to be fully shaded from the sun during the summer months, using a combination of multiple overhangs and reflective, tuned glazing. In the winter months the sun streams into the joyful space. A new HVAC system, reconstructed deep within the 1950’s JF building supplies the new areas with fresh air, cooling and radiative heating from the Central Humber plant. The JF building insulation has been upgraded to current standards, and new windows have been punched through the envelope providing plenty of natural light.