Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fusing Technology, Business & Fine Arts: UW Stratford Campus

Last year, the University of Waterloo broke ground in Stratford, Ontario for their new campus grounds, the Digital Media Lab.

The building houses faculty, staff, and students completing degrees in Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts, as well as the Masters in Digital Experience Innovation. The building in turn, has been designed to reflect the subtle blend of the arts, business, and technology.

The most prominent architectural feature on the buildings exterior, the tiled "step-out", resembles the geometric pattern of the smartphone QR code, most evident at night. The building's fa├žade is mainly comprised of glass and faces the city street. In this way, the building has been "opened" to include the public by creating greater visibility to the community.

Leanne, the Office Manager at the Stratford Campus, was kind enough to offer me a tour of the building Friday afternoon. Above is the amazing digital media wall, which dominates the entrance of the building, rising 3-strories high. It is comprised of 150 Christie® MicroTiles®, which can be individually customized for the overall visual display. This specialized piece of technology, studied on campus, has been integrated fully into the building system. For instance, a specialized cooling system has been implemented throughout each floor with the sole purpose of counteracting the heat generated from the media wall.

The creative arts is a major focus in the programs. Again, this is made evident in the artwork gracing the walls throughout campus. The artwork has been supplied by students from the Fine Arts program at the University's Main Campus, though sound and video recording is studied right on campus. As Leanne explained, the programs are mainly "project-based".

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