The Guelph Correctional Centre is a unique early 20th century reform ‘colony’ on large acreage adjacent to the Erasmosa River, largely designed by pre-eminent Canadian architect John Lyle . It is a cultural heritage landscape that includes ponds and dry stone walls, as well as over 12 buildings (within a Beaux-Arts detention complex and a service complex for self-sustaining operations) that are designated as heritage by Infrastructure Ontario . Currently unoccupied, it is part of an overall master plan for urban redevelopment.
MTBA (with ContentWorks and Tacoma Engineering) developed a demonstration plan that included the phased adaptive reuse of the existing buildings, selective demolition of non-heritage assets, and infill development on lands to the rear of the existing complex. As a cultural heritage landscape, the integration of built structures with various types of landscaped grounds was deemed important to the heritage character and this relationship was maintained in the demonstration plan. The phased demonstration plan illustrations were accompanied by a conservation approach with a series of guidelines and recommendations that underpinned the plans and are intended to guide future design development.
In order to prepare the demonstration plan and conservation approach, MTBA participated in the development of a narrative history for the cultural heritage landscape, identifying heritage values and character-defining elements, and preparing building condition reports for significant buildings.
Redeveloping large complexes such as the Guelph Correction Centre is challenging, and the Conservation and Demonstration Plan attempts to acknowledge the challenges by embracing its role as a tool to aid development and be adaptable to the changing conditions and pressures both on the built resources and the realities of the context.