Weston Family Learning Centre

Art Gallery of Ontario

Location Toronto, Ontario
Status Completed 2011
Size 35,000 sq.ft / 3,250 m²
Partner Siamak Hariri

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“What Siamak has achieved, is a real sense of invitation through space and light, which is glorious and very much different than before”

— Matthew Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario

The Weston Family Learning Centre (WFLC), located in the west wing of the Art Gallery of Ontario, creates a light-filled teaching space for museum visitors, students, and the creative community to experience the power of art. Situated on the concourse and sub-basement levels, the renovation includes dedicated teaching areas and large flexible program spaces with urban views and interior vistas throughout. The facility accommodates approximately 80,000 students annually. Simple design features add significant value: the vertically adjustable curved coatrack eliminates the need for a separate cloakroom; black-out screens along the west façade facilitate live performances, screenings or photography workshops; and robust furniture can be easily re-arranged to meet diverse program needs.

Large windows run the length of the Beverly Street façade giving pedestrians an opportunity to experience the creative activities going on inside. Natural light illuminates a rich material palette of locally sourced Algonquin limestone with oak, coloured concrete, glass and bronze through energy efficient, high-performance glazing. A cantilevered glass paneled Seminar Room floats above the Gallery School, and at concourse level, the glazed west elevation opens up to a tiered, copper beech hedge. The WFLC design accommodates diverse activities and user groups. Each meeting space integrates broadcast and video-conferencing capabilities, to support multiple educational and private functions.