Honouring Ron Thom Heritage

Bata Library Revitalization: Creating the Library of the Future

The founders of Trent envisioned the library as the intellectual hub of campus, a focal point, and a welcoming space. The library remains at the heart of the campus and is acknowledged around the world as an iconic example of Ron Thom’s modernist architecture.

In keeping with Trent’s statement of heritage stewardship, the redesign and renovation of the Bata Library will pay particular attention to the unique history and design legacy of this significant architectural treasure. And the University is committed to maintaining and enhancing this historically significant building designed by one of Canada’s most renowned architects.

As part of this process, the University has undertaken a campus-wide assessment of the heritage value of various spaces, including a focused Cultural Heritage Evaluation Report of the Bata Library. The report outlines the significance of the building, identifies key heritage attributes, and has played a key role in the discussions and design evaluation for the Bata transformation.

Perkins+Will, the architects for the project, have proposed a design approach that respects these heritage values by being responsive to the original context and planning intentions of the library – notably the textured and exposed aggregate rubble walls, the wooden and concrete trellises that shade the windows, and the soaring, light-filled atrium. More details are provided in the Design Response to key Heritage Attributes.

Trent University Statement of Heritage Stewardship

Trent University has always been committed to and celebrated for its outstanding student experience delivered in a natural and built setting that inspires and elevates learning. In particular, Trent’s initial buildings designed by Ron Thom, are recognized as important architectural assets in the mid-century Modern style. Recognizing our primary role as an academic institution and cognizant of our limited financial capabilities, the University acknowledges the importance of maintaining the spaces we have inherited for both their academic and cultural value. Trent is committed to establishing appropriate heritage management policies and engaging others to assist in active promotion and raising funds to ensure heritage features, sacred spaces and cultural resources are available for future generations to enjoy.