Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, Kingston

Situated on the shores of Lake Ontario, the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is home for the creative arts at Queen’s University and a hub of artistic study, creation and exhibition in the community. 


  • Kingston, Ontario, Canada


  • Queen’s University

Project Status

  • Completed in 2014


  • N45 Architects, Snohetta

Combining old and new to create a world-class cultural centre

The project included the renovation of the Stella Buck and Domino Theatre buildings and two 19 th  century stone buildings - a historic brewery and stable. The bulk of the new building is in the courtyard created by the original heritage buildings (Stella Buck Building and the stable building). The centre piece of the facility is a 500-seat ‘world class’ performance hall surrounded by supporting spaces including a separate full scale music rehearsal hall.

Our team provided structural engineering services for the project, including support during the masonry restoration phase and seismic stabilization for the original walls of the two heritage stone buildings.

Specific structural design challenges involved incorporating the historical building components, providing for the stringent acoustical separations, supports of the specific equipment used in the performance aspect of the project, and accommodating large special purpose program and mechanical spaces.

Throughout the integrated design process, which involved a significant collaborative process with all of the design consultants and stakeholders, we were able to understand the client’s objectives in the short, medium and long term time frames. We reviewed the documentation explaining the construction and significance of the historic buildings and visited the site to investigate and document the current building condition, performance and state of deterioration. Repair strategies were developed in consultation with various heritage consultants and to satisfy local heritage conservation organizations. The strategies were designed to enhance performance, while being as minimally invasive as possible.