Queen’s University John Deutsch University Centre

Queens University John Deutsch Centre

Queen’s University John Deutsch University Centre

A Student Hub at the Heart of the Campus

The John Deutsch University Centre is an historic, well-loved student centre at the heart of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. While its Collegiate Gothic form is an iconic part of the campus, the building’s entrances are uniformly inaccessible.

Passage and Place

To open these spaces to all, a dramatic new addition acts as an armature: visitors are drawn up and into the historic building through a sequence of accessible, student-focused spaces. The addition’s design is centred on dual tenets of sustainability and indigeneity, incorporating a finely-detailed mass timber ascending passage/auditorium that actively sequesters carbon while representing the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territories on which the university is situated.

student center section

Lifting the Corner

The JDUC is situated on the most prominent intersection at Queen’s University with the new addition to the north completing a well-travelled edge between the university campus and the surrounding residential neighbourhoods. The primary space lifts the corner and is lined with monumental stone fins, which act as a contemporary interpretation of the collegiate context while working to deflect western sun. Through collaborations with student, university, and Indigenous stakeholders, the project distills a complex set of requirements into a thoughtful new community hub.

A New Centre of Gravity

As a mixed-use student building, the JDUC is home to a host of different programs and uses — most of which are managed by independent governing bodies. Key programs include student-run retail, student government offices, meeting rooms, a student residence, dedicated club spaces, wellness services, a community kitchen, and a student-run pub.

As the north-south thoroughfare of University Avenue acts as a primary entrance to the campus, the new portion of the building greets visitors and must act as a gateway of sorts. Rather than isolate the institution, this project aims to dissolve the barrier between campus and community.

Designed in collaboration with MJMA.

Queens University John Deutsch Centre
Queen's University

Kingston, ON

93,500 sf (8686 m²)


Popular Choice Winner (2021)
Unbuilt Institutional, A+Awards
Top Prize (2020)
Unbuilt – Education Category, Best of Design Awards
Architect’s Newspaper
Award of Excellence (2019)
Canadian Architect