In the instructions to the architect written in 1964, it was highlighted that Trent University’s campus should be “a place of aesthetic as well as of intellectual excitement.” Today Trent’s plan, design and architecture owe much to Canadian architect Ron Thom, author of the University’s Master Plan in April 1964 and the visionary behind award-winning campus buildings: Bata Library, Champlain College, Lady Eaton College and the Chemistry Building.
Since then, Mr. Thom’s architectural vision and his creations are a celebrated aspect of campus life – and many of the newer buildings designed by other architects have garnered awards, continuing the tradition of exceptional architecture and design on campus.
The following initiatives are underway at Trent recognizing the University’s precious trust of architecture and design:
- Trent's Design Legacy Committee has a mandate to inventory, conserve, preserve and promote the design elements of Trent University, including furnishings and built-heritage of lasting cultural significance. The committee is currently creating a digital inventory that all students and staff can access, with a view building respect of the facilities, increase an understanding of the value of university property, and encourage an interest in art/design and history. Members include representatives from Physical Resources, the University Archives, Housing, Conference Services, Sadlier House, College Cabinets, Alumni and Alumni Affairs, and the Frost Centre for Canadian and Indigenous Studies.
- The Cultural Resource Management (CRM) Plan for Trent is an initiative that Lady Eaton College interns are working on. The CRM plan will be an inventory of all culturally significant items at Trent from statues to buildings.
- The Historical Committee for the University’s 50th Anniversary is working on a commemorative plaque project for the 50th Anniversary. It involves: i) Submitting an application to recognize Trent as a national historic site; ii) Research and writing of Trent-specific plaques to be placed around campus recognizing significant places, spaces and events.
Establishment of the 50th Anniversary Design Heritage Fund:
The Trent University Alumni Association, in collaboration with Blue Gum Design, is making available two limited edition furniture designs - the Champlain and Rubidge chairs - to raise money for the 50th Anniversary Design Heritage Fund at Trent University, which will help preserve and celebrate Trent's original designs.
102 of each chair will be crafted in recognition of the number of students registered in Trent’s first class in 1964. Each of these limited-edition artisan chairs will be numbered and embossed with the Trent University crest. Easy to care for, these comfortable, practical and luxurious chairs will last for generations.
Full details will be made available as of June 1 through www.trentu.ca/alumni
Celebrating the Legacy of Ron Thom in Recent Years
- Early in 2013, a travelling exhibition from Vancouver and Toronto to Trent University was awarded a grant of $47,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts. Curated by Adele Weder “Ron Thom: from West Coast Home to Points East,” launches in July 2013 and will arrive in Peterborough in time for Trent’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2014.
- In March 2013 “Madmen on the Otonabee,” a student-curated exhibit of the design behind the furniture of Trent architect Ron Thom, opened at ARTSPACE in Peterborough. The exhibit was curated by fourth-year Business Administration student Richard Love as his legacy project, with a goal to raise awareness of the furniture designs of Ron Thom and their contribution to the collegiate system and social spaces of Trent University
- The Archives has a room in the Library dedicated to Ron Thom. It is furnished with a selection of furniture, lamps, and ashtrays chosen by Thom for Trent in the early 1960s. This room is called "The Michael Treadwell Special Collections and Rare Books Room."
- In October 2011, $110,000 was raised for renovation of original Ron Thom courtyard. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Trent University gathered outside at Alumni House at Champlain College for the dedication of the Tony Storey Courtyard.
- In February 2011, Trent hosted a heritage exhibit as part of Ontario Heritage Week. The festivities included a keynote address by Prof. Symons and a special presentation titled "Ontario's Hidden Heritage" by celebrated author and travel writer Mr. Ron Brown. As part of Ontario Heritage Week celebrations, Trent University Archives and Alumni House both hosted open houses on campus. Members of the public were welcome, free of charge, to view diverse collections of heritage artefacts, housed within the celebrated walls of renowned architect Ron Thom.
- In 2005, the Trent University Art Collection undertook a decorative art inventory which captured the extant designer furniture:
- Bauhaus in the New World: Ron Thom at Trent University was a 32-page booklet published in May 2005 by Trent archivists Jodi Aoki and Bernadine Dodge. It included photographs chosen from among the hundreds that make up the approximately six-cubic-foot collection housed at Trent. Though Mr. Thom's personal archive is housed at the University of Calgary, the Trent University Archives is home to the papers that pertain to his work on the Symons Campus. The book was unveiled at Canada's first national conference on the conservation of twentieth century buildings and landscapes “Conserving the Modern,” held at Trent University.
- In recognition of the great legacy left to generations of students, alumni, faculty and staff at Trent University, the University Archives launched the Ron Thom On-line Exhibition June 2003,
including the publication of a special newsletter profiling Mr. Thom’s contributions.
- In 1989, to celebrate Trent's 25th anniversary, the University’s archivist, Bernadine Dodge, created and organized an exhibit of Trent's designer furniture at Peterborough Museum and Archives.
Other Architectural Awards for Trent University
Environmental Sciences Building Chemical Sciences Building
- 1990 Award of Excellent, Canadian Architect Annual Awards Program
Chemical Sciences Building
- 2003 Award of Merit, Canadian Architect Magazine http://www.trentu.ca/news/daily/archive/040127csb.html
- 2006 Ontario Association of Architects Award, Honourable Mention, Institutional Category http://www.trentu.ca/news/pressreleases/060428architect.htm
- 2008 Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada http://www.trentu.ca/newsevents/newsreleases_080530csb.php
Trent Community Sport & Recreation Centre
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Canada Green Building Council, SILVER designation, 2012
- 2011 North American Copper in Architecture Award (NACIA), Copper Development Association (CDA) and the Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association (CCBDA) http://www.trentu.ca/newsevents/newsreleases_110601AC.php
- 2011 Bronze citation, American School & University 2011 Education Interiors Showcase, premier competition for excellence in the interior design of educational facilities
- 2011 Global Excellence Award, Honorable Mention, Spa/Fitness/Wellness Category by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) http://www.trentu.ca/newsevents/newsreleases_111214TCSRC.php
Life & Health Sciences Building – Block D
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Canada Green Building Council, GOLD designation, 2012 http://www.trentu.ca/newsevents/newsDetail.php?newsID=3931