The Architect’s Newspaper: New Vic, New Life

For more information, please contact:
Andrea Chin, Communications Director

Don Schmitt, Principal

January 31, 2024

The New Vic is featured in an article by Moses Jeanfrancois for The Architect’s Newspaper.

McGill University has been nicknamed “The Harvard of Canada.” With an annual enrollment of 38,000 students, the Montreal institution is set to expand part of the establishment with the help of Diamond Schmitt/LemayMichaud. Named the New Vic, the project will restore parts of the Canadian historic landmark, the Royal Victoria Hospital. 

The hospital’s original 1893 design was composed of three freestanding pavilions in a Scottish baronial style. While it was important to the architects to preserve and even highlight details from its historic facades, today, the New Vic’s design is committed to adding more light to the building—both natural and artificial—through skylit interior courts as well as LEED Gold and WELL Gold environmental standards.

The New Vic will serve as an international center for interdisciplinary research, hosting McGill’s academic programs in sustainable systems and public policy. Most of the building’s transformation will be through the reuse of the building’s heritage wings, as well as an actual 350,000-square foot addition facility that will work seamlessly with the original site.

The space is designed to follow a Living Lab model, categorizing spaces by activities instead of departments. The drive behind the restructuring allows for flexibility and adaptability between cohorts and researchers to share ideas and collaborate knowledge.

“We are inspired with urgency to design a center devoted to the most critical issue of our time: healing the planet,” says Don Schmitt, Principal at Diamond Schmitt. 

McGill University offers over 100 courses in sustainability every year, so this expansion is an example of the effort to stay climate conscious both in and out of the classroom. 

Read the full article on The Architect’s Newspaper here.