“I believe a university’s physical environment is a fundamental part of the educational experience. A quality education requires an understanding and appreciation of beauty and design. Ron Thom conceived the buildings of Trent to grow out of the landscape. It’s a superb example of a conceptual architecture that is respectful of the location.” Thomas Symons
The Bata Library was designed by a team of Ron Thom’s strongest architects, including Paul Barnard, and later Paul Merrick. The window walled building seems to float on the Otonabee River, and its central top-lit atrium allows daylight to stream into the core and the adjacent study areas.
Originally conceived as a female-only dormitory, Lady Eaton is a sculptural building clad in textured concrete, after the rubble-aggregate process used for Champlain proved too expensive to continue. Ron Thom’s associate Alastair Grant was the main architect of this college and laid it out as two sinuous residential wings anchored by an entrance building.
The Faryon Bridge is the pedestrian connection of the west and east campus sections and is an iconic image of Trent. Morden Yolles and Roly Bergman created a beautiful bridge over the Otonabee that, as per Ron Thom’s emphatic order, does not look anything like a utilitarian highway bridge. Yolles and Bergman inflected its under span and concrete piers into a parabolic curve. Architect Paul Merrick from Thom’s office designed the unique handrails on top of the bridge.
Founded in 1964 as one of Trent’s two original colleges, Traill College is named for one of the early settlers in the area and is comprised of a collection of houses added to the campus at different points during the 19th and 20th centuries, each house reflecting the architectural motifs of the time.
Champlain is the flagship college and nucleus of the campus, housing the university’s grand dining hall, residences, small seminar rooms, master’s residence (now Alumni House), and a bell tower that visually anchors it like a church spire. The entire complex is built with walls of aggregate rubble, a construction process that is highly labour intensive and expensive, but yields beautiful results evocative of medieval castles.