MacKinnon Groundbreaking Ceremony | College of Arts

MacKinnon Groundbreaking Ceremony

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

MacKinnon Groundbreaking Ceremony

Construction on the MacKinnon Building aimed at building a new ImprovLab and updating the existing theatre, student spaces and main entrance will launch with an official groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 24, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.

The University community, architects, funders and supporters are invited to attend the event to be held in the MacKinnon quadrangle.

Renovations will cover 45,000 sq. ft of space that currently houses performing arts.

The MacKinnon Building was constructed in 1967 in the heart of campus. It houses, among other facilities, the College of Arts and the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI).  

Renovations will include the construction of the CFI-Funded ImprovLab in support of research by the IICSI whose work is at the forefront internationally of research on the impact of improvised creative practices. The ImprovLab will be a publicly accessible multi-use research lab for the presentation, broadcast, archiving, and analysis of improvised performance, community workshops, and audience reception studies across a variety of media. The new facility will provide a space for researchers to collaborate with each other, the university population, and the broader community.

Renovations will also involve the building of a new main entrance, creation of student spaces, reconfiguring and returning the Luscombe Theatre to a black-box performance space, new practice spaces for music as well as aesthetic updates and updates to existing spaces to address both accessibility and acoustical issue.

Diamond Schmitt Architects ( have been engaged to support renovations to the MacKinnon Building. With more than 40 projects for the performing arts and even more in academic building design, the internationally recognized studio brings to this project depth of experience to create a transformative design solution.

Project management is supported by Physical Resources at the University of Guelph.

Construction will begin in the fall of 2019 to create the foundations and enclosure of the new building. The project is expected to be completed in Spring 2021.

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.