Diamond Schmitt Architects


How does a building improve the life of a whole neighborhood? This was the challenge for the architects of Daniels Spectrum, a 58,000-square-foot cultural center at the heart of the Regent Park district in Toronto. The area, a previously blighted late 1940s public housing complex, is in the middle of a revitalization: Toronto Community Housing and Daniels Corporation, a private developer, are replacing the old apartment buildings for the tenants, and adding market-rate housing and community facilities.

Diamond Schmitt Architects designed the Spectrum, which is run by Artscape, a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization, to house seven local performing and visual arts groups, and the Centre for Social Innovation, an incubator for emerging enterprises. The building has a strong visual presence at the center of the neighborhood. Its facade features rainbow-hued stripes, derived from the flags of the world, that stand out against the otherwise restrained architecture.

The arts are very important to the residents here, according to lead architect Donald Schmitt, especially as their homes are being rebuilt. “Regent Park is the place where many recent immigrants live, and they bring their cultures with them,” he says. Music, in particular, has been knitting the community together, but had been performed in basements or in begged, borrowed, and found places.

Today the various arts groups share a lobby in the new building and access to Ada Slaight Hall, a 310-seat performance and event space that has been in great demand since opening in 2012: it was dark fewer than 10 nights during its first year. The architects brought their expertise and connections, employing the same theater consultant and acoustician that they worked with on their Mariinsky II Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia.

One tenant, the Regent Park School of Music, which used to operate out of a Victorian row house, now has soundproofed space with six teaching studios, and has increased its enrollment from 250 to over 1,000 students. Another, Native Earth Performing Arts, tripled its audience. But Daniels Spectrum and its tenants can claim a larger victory. They have been highly visible in local media, representing a new character for the area. “I think the project creates a sense of opportunity,” says Schmitt, “and shifts the discussion from poverty, crime, and economic struggles to something much greater.”

Architect: Diamond Schmitt Architects — Donald Schmitt, Jennifer Mallard, Joseph Troppmann

Client: Artscape/Daniels Corporation

Size: 58,000 square feet

Construction Cost: $18.5 million

Project Cost: $25 million

Completion date: September 2012


Formal name of building:
Daniels Spectrum

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Completion Date:
September 2012

Gross square footage:
58,000 sq ft

Total project cost:

Total construction cost:

Artscape / Daniels Corporation

Regent Park Arts Non-Profit Development Corporation / Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Architect's firm name, address, phone, and fax number:
Diamond Schmitt Architects
384 Adelaide street West, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5V 1R7
Tel: 416-862-8800
Fax: 416-862-5508

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Donald Schmitt OAA, AIA; Jennifer Mallard OAA, AIA; Joseph Troppmann, OAA

Architect of record, if applicable:
Diamond Schmitt Architects

Interior designer:
Diamond Schmitt Architects

Engineers (structural, civil, mechanical, etc.):
Structural: Read Jones Christoffersen
Mechanical/Electrical: Smith and Andersen Consulting Engineer
Civil: Sernas Associates

Landscape: NAK Design Group
Acoustical: Jaffe Holden Acoustics

Theatre Design and Planning: Fisher Dachs Associates
Specifications: Brian Ballantyne Specifications
Fire Protection & Life Safety: Randal Brown Associates Ltd
Traffic Consultant: BA Group
Cost Consultant: curran mccabe ravindran ross inc.
LEED Consultant: Halsall
Food Service Consultant: Artscape Event Services

General contractor:
Daniels Corporation

Lisa Logan ' 416-894-0040



Structural system
List type, e.g. concrete or steel frame, wood, etc.: Concrete Frame with Steel Truss & Steel Deck Roof Assembly
Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project: MG Steel

Exterior cladding Metal Panels: Custom Aluminum Cladding System fabricated by Gage Metal

Roofing Built-up roofing: SBS Modified Bituminous Membrane with Electronic Leak Detection Other: Green Roof

Metal frame: Aluminum Window Wall by Toro Aluminum
Special: STC Rated Windows by Wausau

Glass: Custom Ceramic Frit in Selected Areas for Sun Control
Skylights: Toro Aluminum

Entrances: Toro Aluminum
Metal doors: Toro Aluminum
Fire-control doors, security grilles: Amstel Security Grille
Special doors: Sound Control Door Gaskets: Zero International

Closers: LCN Door Closers
Exit devices: Adams Rite Exit Devices

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong
Demountable partitions: STC Rated Operable Partitions: Corflex
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Reclaimed Wood by Urban Salvage
Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore
Special surfacing: Fabric Covered Acoustic Wall Panels: Sound Solutions
Linear Wood Ceiling: Geometrik Manufacturing Inc
Floor and wall tile: Washrooms: Olympia Tile / Daltile
Corridor Floors: Ciot
Resilient flooring: Linoleum: Forbo
Rubber Tile Flooring: Marathon
Dance Floor: Royale Floor by Rosco
Carpet: Tapisom
Raised flooring: Robbins Bio-Channel Cushioned Wood Floor System; Jack-up Concrete Floor Slab: Mason Industries
Special interior finishes unique to this project:
Wood Flooring: Teregren Bamboo
Resilient wall brackets and ceiling hangers: Mason Industries
Glass Reinforced Gypsum Acoustic Reflectors: Glasteel Low Frequency Sound Absorbers: RPG Diffusor Systems Inc.

Fixed seating: Telescoping Platform Seating: Titan Carter Platform Seating Other furniture: Pianos donated by Yamaha Canada

Interior ambient lighting: Pendants: Bocci 14 Series Dimming System or other lighting controls: Stage Lighting Controls: ETC

Elevators/Escalators: Kone

Delta, Kohler, Haws, Kindred

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Heat recovery, Automatic Plumbing Fixtures, Occupancy Sensors, recycled and Local Materials