MacEwan University’s new hall for performance and visual arts features a 419-seat theatre, theatre lab, recital hall, art gallery and recording studio.
Wednesday was the grand opening for Allard Hall and Edmontonians were offered tours of the new facility. Its main atrium is five floors with multi-tiered stage options.
The building is an open, airy, multi-use space that includes seating areas located on the landings called “nests.” The nests seem to float in the air above the hall’s stairs.
“A key part of the vision for Allard Hall was that its spaces encourage formal and informal collaboration between students in the same program — and between students in different programs,” said Allan Gilliland, dean of the university’s faculty of Fine Arts and Communications.
“The nests are a perfect example of that design philosophy in action. We imagine impromptu concerts breaking out from them, students spreading out to work on group projects, or just relaxing.”
The hall also features light-filled studios and rehearsal spaces.
Allard Hall includes a state-of-the-art recording studio large enough to accommodate a big band.
There are 128 pianos in the new space.
Crews broke ground on Allard Hall in November 2014. The building ended up being finished $5 million under budget.
It is 40,000-square metres and can house up to 1,800 students.
Currently, there is no access to the fifth floor but it is available for future development.
The grand opening of Allard Hall marks a special time in MacEwan’s history.
“We’ve relocated all our visual and performing arts programming — more than 900 students, faculty and staff — to our City Centre Campus,” university president Deborah Saucier said.
“Allard Hall, their new home, is simply spectacular… designed to inspire the creative talents of our students.”
“Moving our visual and performing arts programming downtown lets our students connect with the arts community downtown,” Gilliland said. “Many of our faculty are practising professionals, and the Allard’s proximity will open up even more opportunities for them to integrate their experience into their teaching.”
The building is named in honour of the Allard family, who have supported MacEwan for 30 years.
Founded in 1971, MacEwan University offers more than 65 programs including undergraduate degrees, applied degrees, diplomas, certificates, continuing education and corporate training.