Tyler Chui

Nia Centre for the Arts

The ASC 520 studio integration was to design a performing Arts Centre for the company NIA located in Toronto’s Little Jamaica community. NIA is an organization for the appreciation of arts across the African Diaspora and is a hub for the community that showcases art and provides youth mentorship programs and workshops. To create a neighborhood hub, the proposal responds to the surrounding infrastructure with creating storefronts that undulate along the façade. This allows for variety and human scale when walking along Oakwood Ave. To activate the North intersection, the proposal’s roof reaches into the outdoor public space as a canopy with the sense of enclosure and security while still being outdoors.

Mathieu Howard

Nia Centre for the Arts

The proposal for the new NIA Centre For The Arts is centered around the idea of creating relationships between the community and the building by giving back something greater to the people of little Jamaica. The uninterrupted views from the interior program of the building to the street and vice-versa create a visual continuity between adjacent streets and the NIA Centre For The Arts through. The transparent ground floor contributes largely to this visual continuity, being clad entirely in glazing. The upper floors are clad in a sawtooth facade influenced by the street traffic and circulation on the site. The sawtooth facade is composed of glazing and aluminum panels overlaid with artwork. This gesture shows off artwork created by artists of the African diaspora and of the NIA Centre and creates a public exhibition of art. A reinforced relationship to the street created by the exposition of artwork on the facade fortifies the NIA Centre For The Arts as a datum for the neighborhood and as a symbol of identity for the community.

Ludovica Pasini

Nia Centre for the Arts

The proposed NIA center for the arts is situated in the heart of Little Jamaica, on Eglinton Ave W. The exercise aims to bring students to the acknowledgment of how context and culture are the key driving forces of a design. In consideration of this the Nia Center wants to act as a cultural hub for the black artist community, by performing as a meeting point to the adjacent school, library, park, while the front facade of the building will interact with pedestrians on the main street of Eglinton Ave W. The appearance of the building will mimic the verticality conveyed by the neighborhood, with the use of vertical rotating wood composite panels, and aims to evoke curiosity through space and form mutation, resulting in the beginning of a cultural attitude.

Adneth Marie Kaze

Nia Centre for the Arts

The Nia Centre is a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization that supports, showcases, and promotes an appreciation of arts from across the African Diaspora. The vision for the Nia Centre is to create a safe space for young black creatives to express their creativity freely. There is a need for a gathering space free from the mainstream stereotypes and marginalization that permeate every other societal space.

The concept revolves around the idea that the black experience is not a monolith and includes multiple facets interacting together to create a culture. The design strategies follow the ideas of diversity and connectivity as it includes a central courtyard connecting to the three levels and all the program of the building. The program is organized in a way that maximizes interconnecting floor space and open spaces. By scattering the program all over the building, it allows for users to be exposed to different activities taken part in the building. This sense of diversity within this community allows the building to become a whole.

The Nia Center Is more than a Performing Arts Centre, it becomes a tool to strengthen the sense of community within Little Jamaica. For this project, I chose to build on the Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road “Five Points” Intersection, representing, by itself a focal point connecting to the rest of the neighbourhood.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.