Music Building Renovations


An addition, an alteration and a new build.

Architect John Nicholson of Nicholson Sheffield Architects, said, “The building is a silent participant in the learning of music.”

"When the Music Building opened in 1972, it was designed for an enrolment of 400-450 students. Today, with 700 students, more space is needed. In addition, as with any building, HVAC systems wear out and materials need to be upgraded to meet current environmental codes. The layout, as envisioned by Professor Don McKellar and then Dean Clifford von Kuster, is extremely functional, hence part of the current building will be renovated. On either side of the renovated building, new towers will be built.

With that charge, Nicholson, Dean Betty Anne Younker and two former deans, Bob Wood and Jeff Stokes, worked on a renovated and new design. The planning was in close consultation with the Sector Planning Committee, faculty, staff and students via various meetings and Town Hall settings.

The project will add 9,500 square feet of usable space, taking the Faculty from 28,165 square feet to 42,050 square feet. (Gross square footage, which includes mechanical, grows by about 19,000 square feet.) In addition to space, the HVAC system servicing the buildings is failing and causing serious damage to delicate instruments.

The $25-million project involves three main components:

  • A new, five-storey tower constructed in the courtyard space between the east wing of Music Building and Talbot College, housing mostly practice rooms, teaching space, studios and piano technology space;
  • The renovated wing (Block B) will house studios, offices, practice rooms, seminar rooms, Early Music Ensemble Suite, and the main lobby. The tower (Block A) between the Music Building and Talbot College will house the Percussion Suite, Piano Technology Suite, classrooms, offices, studios, practices rooms, rehearsal spaces, and a new 45 seat recital hall. The tower on the west side of the renovated section (Block C) will house rehearsal halls, a newly built von Kuster Hall, and recording studio spaces.  Do see below "Additions to the New Music Building" for the specific plans. Upon completion of the renovations and construction, plans are to begin renovations to the Music Library.
  • A three-storey structure housing added performance space.

The university is picking up 80 per cent of the building’s $25 million price tag; the remaining 20 per cent falls to faculty fundraising efforts.

For information about helping realize this project, contact:

Karmen Ferraro
Alumni and Development Officer
519-661-2111 x85695

Share your memories

With more than 250 annual events in von Kuster Hall, countless rehearsals, studio lessons, and endless hours of practice, the Music Building is not only a core academic physical space, it is the setting of memories and emotional connection for students and alumni. Share some of your times in words or images. Submit to by September 24, 2018.

Do you have a question?

Send an email to

Music Renovation Team:

  • Betty Anne Younker
  • Robert Wood
  • Jeff Stokes
  • Fred Janzen  

Updates will be posted through the renovations process.