Quarters Arts Society Building by Rockliff Pierzchajlo Kroman Architects

Quarters Arts Society Building by Rockliff Pierzchajlo Kroman Architects

Comprised of an inviting mix of whitewashed bricks and vividly coloured yellow accents, the Quarters Arts Society Building located at 9641 – 102A Avenue, Edmonton, Canada, is bright and cheery.

The Quarters District is a long-neglected neighbourhood in east downtown, extending from 97th Street to 92nd Street and from 103A Avenue to the top of the North Saskatchewan River Valley. The city's long-term vision for the 100-acre area is to create a dynamic community that respects the unique character of existing neighbourhoods.

RPK was tasked with revitalizing the 1959 building, creating a home for Co*Lab while simultaneously encouraging pedestrian interaction. Eye-catching yellow garage doors strategically inserted into the façade bring more light into the facility and activate the streetscape.

At night, the building continues to dazzle: LED strips diffused by polycarbonate panelling gives the building a warm glow; and the white façade transforms into a canvas for digital and visual art projections.

The design has been carefully considered to make it friendly and accessible for workshops, studios, special events, gallery exhibitions, and live performances. By bringing community spaces and the gallery to the street front, we encourage activity, interaction with pedestrians, and natural surveillance. The design encourages growth and development in the Quarters through its cheerful presence.

QAS is a non-profit society that sees the Quarters Downtown and Boyle Street as a vibrant neighbourhood for the arts in Edmonton and seeks to encourage its growth by engaging people with inclusive, accessible, citizen-led projects while honouring the heritage and exploring the diversity of the community.

QAS is committed to creating opportunities and providing safe spaces in the Boyle Street area for all Albertans to share in the joy of artistic expression.

Formed by a collective of visual artists, writers, designers and musicians residing in Boyle Street and surrounding neighbourhoods in 2013, and incorporated in October 2014, QAS has been working with community members and groups to provide space to collaborate, create, and celebrate the Boyle Street neighbourhood for five years.

Two vacant buildings on the east side of Edmonton's downtown were renovated, retrofitted and reborn as permanent arts hubs in The Quarters district, thanks in part to a $1.5 million contribution from the federal government, half of which went to a 1962 two-storey building which is now the home of the Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective.

And the second half of the project involves a one-and-a-half-storey structure built in the mid-1950s at 9641 102A Ave. occupied by the Quarters Arts Society.

Society president Darren Radbourne​ said the 7,240-square-foot space is designed to provide affordable and professional spaces including a workshop studio, performance hall, new media hub, gallery and cafe.

Radbourne​ said the financial support sends an important message about the value of independent arts being integrated into a thriving community, not stuck to the fringe.