The Observatory at Algonquin College is a fully licensed student lounge and a fixture for the social lives of Algonquin students. The Observatory came into existence in 1996 with an extensive renovation of the Students’ Association Centre designed by Hobin Architecture. Twenty years passed, and with the facility showing signs of age in its décor, lighting technologies and food service capabilities, the time had come to renew the space.
The lounge features comfortable bench seating in addition to flexible freestanding furniture, a wide range of prepared food and drinks managed by the Algonquin College Student Association. Students flock to the Observatory to unwind, study, eat, drink, watch concerts and take part in student events. While working within the existing parameters of the space, the Observatory renovation project consisted of redesigning a few of its key components in the kitchen and servery, bar, and main seating area.
The 2016 renewal project, designed by architects Patrick Bisson and Gord Lorimer, reworked the commercial kitchen to accommodate the Observatory’s present and future needs as they look to increase their in-house and catering capacity. The bar and the main seating area were redesigned in a contemporary, urban treatment while also increasing seating capacity–which was one of the main objectives for the architectural team. Sheets of blackened steel and blonde maple woodwork were used to emphasize the existing feature fireplace, as well as the bar. New lighting and audio visual systems were added to provide additional flexibility for the various planned events happening throughout the year.