Renowned Canadian architect Ron Thom is a legend at Trent University. From the Faryon Bridge to Lady Eaton Hall, the late Ron Thom’s Trent legacy of function and beauty is undeniable. Now thanks to Ron Thom and the Allied Arts, a travelling exhibit, Canadians from coast-to-coast can appreciate his exceptional talent and the brilliant architecture he brought to the Trent University campus.
The February 13, 2014 opening of Ron Thom and the Allied Arts at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum marks the second stop on a national tour celebrating his ground-breaking work. The exhibition recognizes Thom’s accomplishments at Trent University and elsewhere and will encourage the preservation of his architecture and design for future generations.
Ron Thom and the Allied Arts will exhibit at Trent University’s Peterborough campus from August 7-October 22 as part of the university’s own 50th anniversary commemorations. The exhibition first opened last summer at the West Vancouver Museum and will travel to the Beaverbrook Museum in Fredericton in November.
Ron Thom and the Allied Arts includes sketches and photographs of Thom’s works, from ground-breaking residential design in British Columbia, to Massey College in Toronto, to what many consider to be his ultimate masterpiece: Trent University. Here as elsewhere, Thom approached all aspects of the environment—from landscape to furniture to ceramics to the building itself—as part of the overall architecture, and so the exhibit also includes furniture, hand-made ceramics and fixtures that were designed or commissioned by Thom himself. Trent's Design Legacy Committee is working to preserve similar works by Thom on campus.
Adele Weder is an architectural writer and the curator of Ron Thom and the Allied Arts. She feels the recognition of Ron Thom’s legacy is vital and that the Trent community should be very proud of the architectural heritage of the campus.
Ms. Weder says, “Ron Thom is a legend. He was an artist who used architecture as his medium, and he felt that very act of living and studying and working should be an art, in an environment that nurtures creativity. Many of those who view the exhibit will learn for the first time that the architect of Trent University was an internationally renowned genius. It was and is widely considered one of the most brilliant and beautiful campuses in Canada, and arguably in North America. It remains beloved by architectural fans all over the country.”
Trent’s director of Alumni Affairs, Lee Hays, believes Ron Thom’s work is an important part of the Trent story. “As an alumna I have gained a sense of appreciation for the privilege of studying within Ron Thom architecture and design,” says Ms. Lee. “For example, there are many student spaces organized around fireplaces, encouraging informal gatherings and discussion amongst students and faculty. This intentional design element enhances the intimate learning environment for which Trent is known. ”
Ron Thom was selected as the master planner and chief architect by Trent’s founding president, Thomas H. B. Symons. Trent officially opened its doors in 1964. Mr. Thom received an honorary degree from Trent in 1971.
Ron Thom and the Allied Arts is a partnership project of the West Vancouver Museum, Trent University and Massey College at the University of Toronto, with the support of the Canadian Architectural Archives in the University of Calgary, and the Gardiner Museum and Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The Canada Council for the Arts and British Columbia Arts Council provided the foundation grants, which have been generously matched by many donors and supporters, including Peterborough’s LLF Lawyers, the lead sponsor of the Trent exhibit. For a full list of exhibition sponsors, click here.
For more information about Ron Thom’s work at Trent University please visit: http://www.trentu.ca/admin/library/archives/zthome.htm