Projects | Academic | Huron University College Learning Commons 

Huron University College Learning Commons

Re-Imagining the University Library

The library becomes central to the students' life with new technology, new location and new relationships


The project involved disentangling decades of additions, to create a clear sense of entry and way-finding for the campus as a whole. The design of a new Learning Commons will fundamentally change the relation of the Library to its surrounding context, and will create much needed support for the library program, its staff and students. The work includes designing a strategy to reduce disruption through construction wherever possible, and to assist in renewing the University’s aging building systems.

Our Role:

Our team provided extensive engagement with University leadership, faculty, staff, and students; a complete review of existing conditions and careful attention to the historic architecture of the University buildings and Library Reading Room; development of the functional program, confirming and advancing the University’s previous work.


The Learning Commons supported the expansion and promotion of the Library’s activities and made them central to the campus experience. Located at the intersection with the main courtyard and a circulation spine leading to other services, the Learning Commons expansion knit both Hall and cloister levels into the library, greatly improving its accessibility to faculty and students. The Upper level complemented the atmosphere of the historic reading room with open and flexible space oriented to the natural surroundings of the campus.

“We are very pleased with the careful and diligent initial work that John MacDonald Architect has brought to the early planning and design process. Their Project Launch and Information Reporting management systems have created clear objectives and stakeholder understanding for the project, and we are excited by the design possibilities that are taking shape. John, Matthew, and the JMA staff are careful listeners, and their organized approach to the work has helped us to understand the complexities of the undertaking. JMA enjoys our full confidence, and we look forward to the journey ahead.”

— Neil Carruthers

C.A.O. (retired) Huron University College

Project Data


Alteration / Addition



London, Ontario

Design Completed 2016