Chandler Architecture

 

 

Founders’ Hall was established in response to a reorganized need for a high quality attraction for visitors and residents alike in Charlottetown. Completed in the Spring of 2001, Founders’ Hall consists of 26,000 square feet of exhibit, retail and dining area on the historic Charlottetown waterfront. The project involved the renovation of the former CN Rail Car Shops and the addition of over 14,000 square feet of new construction.

The first phase of the project was the renovation of a 12,000 square foot brick masonry and steel truss roof rail service building originally constructed in 1905. This work entailed the re-roofing of the building, extensive repairs to the masonry and installation of all new windows and doors.

The second phase of work involved the installation of a state-of-the-art exhibit attraction and the construction of a new shared entrance lobby for the existing building, the exhibit and a second level restaurant and roof deck. This new construction will occupies a vacant lot on the north side of the original brick building on the former site of a massive round house which was used by the railway to house and rotate train engines. The design for the addition picks up on the imagery of the round house, re-conceiving it in a slightly less industrial manner which would be more friendly to the surrounding neighborhood and more suited to the new program of exhibit hall.

Historic brick was combined with more contemporary materials such as fibreglass cladding panels and aluminium curtain walls to give the new construction a contemporary character while maintaining a sensitive formal relationship with the original building. The new main entrance to the building is oriented to address the prominence of the corner of Water and Prince Streets. The mass of the new entry hall is connected to and separated from the original building by a glass curtain walled section with light steel and aluminium construction an aesthetic and formal break between the old and new.

The work was intricately coordinated with the exhibit designers from Ontario to ensure that the diverse and complex needs of a world-class exhibit installation were accommodated. The end result has been a successful building which renders historical form in a contemporary manner and creates a setting for the presentation of history through technology and entertainment.