The Building


The National accessArts Centre (NaAC) is community hub driven by the arts, and a new benchmark for inclusive, universally accessible design.

A conceptual sketch by Robert Claiborne, principal architect, DIALOG
A preliminary sketch of the National accessArts Centre project by Robert Claiborne, principal architect, DIALOG

Three buildings anchor the project. Each undergoes a simple transformation (twist, tilt and stretch) to create a series of different environments within themselves, between themselves, and with the landscape. There is no front or back to the site; each building opens up in multiple ways. The buildings house performing, visual and culinary arts, community amenities, offices for non-profits, retail and event spaces.

20180618_VIEW FROM SOUTH_Final
Architectural rendering of the new National accessArts Centre campus (DIALOG)

The existing community hall is not erased within the new design. Loaded with history, stories, and a sense of place, the hall is absorbed in the new architecture: repurposed as a canvas for display, a vessel for the social spaces and a foundation for administrative areas. Preservation of the existing hall continues the Indefinite Arts programming during construction: a lynch pin in a multi-phased construction strategy.

A sketch of the linear, accessible ground plane
The ground plane remains consistent – a near perfect horizontal grade throughout. Walls and roofs rotate to introduce new qualities of space with the existing building, between new buildings, and between new building and landscape.

Throughout the campus, the ground plane and floor plates remain consistently horizontal – minimizing obstructions and reducing vertical circulation across the site. Outdoor spaces are as important as indoor. Public realm and private amenities are indistinguishable. Spaces oscillate between open to closed, tall to compact, and wide to narrow. Materials mediate sound, texture, vibration, humidity, temperature, scent. The site is animated day and night, winter and summer.