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Nia Centre for the Arts shines in Toronto

Nia Centre for the Arts officially opened its doors last Fall as the first professional Black Arts Centre in Canada offering programming, events and exhibitions to celebrate Afro-diasporic arts and culture. Dalton led the adaptive reuse of this 100-year-old building into a 12,900 sq. ft. performing arts and culture centre in the heart of Oakwood-Vaughan Village.

We drew on our extensive experience with performing arts projects and our adaptive reuse expertise to transform this heritage building into a modern and acoustically superior space.

The building features spaces including:

·         2,500 sq. ft. Performance Hall

·         Dance Studio

·         Digital Media Lab

·         Visual Arts Studio

·         Staff Lounge

·         Dressing Rooms

·         Youth Hub

·         Co-Working Space

Total Structural Overhaul

Dalton faced many challenges with this complex project including a total overhaul of the structural components of the building. Together with the structural engineering team, MTE Consultants, Dalton oversaw the addition of a basement using the bench footing method adding considerable usable space. Read more on the use of the Bench Footing Method at Nia Centre on our blog.

During the demolition stage, the consultants deemed the building’s west wall structurally compromised after years of ice and salt buildup from the adjacent laneway requiring a full replacement.

Strategic HVAC Installation

Repurposed spaces usually require new HVAC systems to accommodate the increased building capacity. Nia Centre was no different! Dalton coordinated the replacement of the old HVAC units by installing 8 new rooftop units. To lift the HVAC units by crane onto the roof, Dalton had to shut down all southbound lanes on Oakwood Avenue for the day. This process involved strategic planning common for projects located in dense, urban areas including traffic and pedestrian management.

Array of Acoustical Achievement

With the experienced guidance of O’Keefe Acoustics, Nia Centre features three acoustically enhanced spaces- the performance hall, dance studio and digital media lab. A variety of methods were used to ensure an acoustically sound space including, honeycomb baffles, angled ceiling with stippled texture, sound dampening insulation, acoustic wall panels and assemblies and triple layer drywall. Placement is everything- even the HVAC, mechanical and electrical units were placed on specialized vibration isolation pads to prevent vibration transmission.


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