October 2018

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64 | OCTOBER 2018 University College Modernization – Western University Great care was taken to preserve the interior historical elements, for example, Conron Hall, initially designed as a grand convocation hall complete with towering stained glass win- dows, remained untouched save for an upgrade to its audio-visual systems. The original 1922 terrazzo floors were pre- served throughout and matched in areas where the floor needed replacement. A time capsule placed in the building's stone brick in 1922 was left undisturbed. As for the most memorable aspect of the project, Tillmann cites the restora- tion of light fixtures contained in two bunkers near the main entrance sym- metrically focused at the tower. "This would illuminate the tower at night, something I haven't personally seen since the 1960s," he says. Paul Walkom from Tonda says of construction, which began in the sum- mer of 2016: "We dealt with the usual site constraints you would encounter on any campus, but the main chal- lenge for us was outfitting the historic interior for digital technology, which is why we spent so much time drill- ing into concrete – and finding out how thick the walls were. While we had access to the original drawings, they consisted of only 30 or so pages, so detail about what was behind the walls and under the floors was limited." However, Walkom echoes the senti- ments of Tillmann when he says, "We'd worked extensively with Western in the past and we couldn't have asked for better communication or a more productive working relationship throughout the project." Innovation was evident throughout the design and construction pro- cess. Because drop ceilings couldn't be incorporated into the historic structure, mechanical specialists Chorley & Bisset Ltd. located the HVAC system and other mechanical com- ponents in two new roof penthouses, constructed to match the limestone facings of University College. As of September a paved driveway fronting University College was being replaced by pedestrian-only stone pav- ers and garden areas with seating and low level lighting, a revamped stone entry with widened stairs was being constructed, landscaping was ongoing, and the lighting system that would illu- minate the tower was being fine-tuned. Tillmann concludes, "I'm delighted by the outcome. This was a great chance to revitalize a wonderful part of the university, and special credit should go to Michael Milde for his persistence in getting this project off the ground." Milde summarized the importance of the project by telling local media: "The sense of bringing everything up to current standards shows that arts and humanities is not, somehow, mired in the past, but we're keeping abreast with contemporary developments. It's a reminder that arts and humani- ties is at the heart of the University, that the things we do are central to the University's mission and, indeed, to maintaining a civilized society." A PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY ARCHITECTS TILLMANN RUTH ROBINSON Glamour Line.indd 1 2018-09-21 1:07 Architecture.indd 1 2018-09-13 10:39 AM

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