The master planning work for the revitalization of the historic St. Ann’s Academy Buildings and grounds began in 1992. The Academy was built over a period of 40 years — the convent school was always at the heart of the cultural and ceremonial downtown precinct. Coupled with an extensive evaluation of the renovation potential, the initial planning study encompassed the potential land use and development options for four major publicly owned land assemblies in the immediate vicinity.
Development programs included 450,000 square feet of commercial space, a major 1,600 seat multi-purpose theatre and a new home for the Victoria Art Gallery. This urban design program revolved around the thesis of re-integrating the entire precinct with the fabric of the downtown core.
As part of the Victoria Accord, this project underwent an effective and constructive public consultation process in order to address diverse public opinions. From this process the practice was given the mandate to proceed with the first and highly acclaimed phase of the restoration strategy for St. Ann’s Academy.