To create the Guelph Civic Administration Complex, Moriyama Teshima Architects and heritage architects Goldsmith Borgal renovated and physically integrated two important historical structures: the 1856 Guelph City Hall, a National Historic Site renovated and expanded as the city’s POA courthouse, and the 1900 Winter Fair Building, incorporated into the new Civic Administration Centre and council chambers. The City Hall is a National Historic Site and a provincially-designated heritage property, and was designed in the Renaissance Revival style by William Thomas, architect of Toronto’s first City Hall.
Renovation of the 1856 City Hall as a POA courthouse required careful planning to achieve current courthouse standards while preserving and restoring as much as possible of the building’s rich heritage fabric. Details such as intricate plaster corbelling, pressed-tin ceilings, carved wood window casings, copper and granite fittings, cast-iron structural columns and an elaborate central staircase were carefully restored to original specifications or replaced with matching materials. Discreet technical upgrades ensured structural integrity, reduced energy consumption and improved operational efficiencies, while visual integration between new and old was established through compatible materials, massing and spatial relationships rather than emulation or mimicry. We led an extensive consultation process with the City of Guelph, heritage organizations, community organizations, other external stakeholders and held many public open houses
The resulting Centre has become a true year round civic hub that serves everyone in the community. It is the home for municipal government — a ‘one stop shopping’ destination for city services as well as a destination for civic events and everyday activities.