Part of the University’s transformative Xaverian Commons project, the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government is a new innovative centre of government, public policy, and leadership development in Canada, built to inspire political and public policy leaders of tomorrow at St. Francis Xavier University. The linking of these two great entities provides an unprecedented opportunity to cultivate the next generation of leaders in Canadian policy, politics, social and global leadership, and to establish a tangible relation between the study and practice of government. The Institute combines and augments existing programs and departments on campus into a collaborative and synergistic academic and research body.
The building in which the Institute is housed is also an incredibly important classroom building, replacing close to 80% of the teaching space on campus and inhabiting the geographic centre of the campus, radically transforming the area to embrace an existing hill, that previously divided upper from lower campus, as a unique feature that plays a part in physically and experientially re-connecting upper and lower campus. The design of Mulroney Hall and surrounding site presented opportunities to enhance the rich spatial experience of campus; it is centrally located and poised to become a hub of student activity and a space for intellectual discourse with global impact.
A series of new student-focused interior and exterior spaces were envisioned as part of the project, providing space for formal and informal gatherings – a modern forum and place of discourse and learning.
Nycum and its design partner, SmithGroupJJR, were engaged by St. Francis Xavier University to help the campus develop a set of forward-thinking guidelines and requirements to be used by Design-Builders competing for the opportunity to design and build a significant new project on the University’s campus. We prepared an “illustrative design” as a companion to the guidelines and requirements to depict how they might shape an appropriate response to the campus, to the program and to the legacy of the project’s namesake and benefactor, the Right Honourable M. Brian Mulroney, St. Francis Xavier alumnus and 18th Prime Minister of Canada.
Our design work was completed and formed the basis of a design competition between Design-Builders in October 2016, after which point we transitioned to an advisory role with the University. We provided advice and insight to the University and its stakeholders throughout the competition and into the construction phases.