An office space renovated for indigenous health research and cultural programming.
A quintessential example of Modernist architecture in Toronto is now home to the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto. Since its completion in 1961 and through its many renovations, the heritage building has held its reputation as a centre for best practices in education.
As a department of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health serves as a leader in ethical and meaningful research in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. Its new location on the building’s fourth floor presented Brook McIlroy with an opportunity to develop and design an interior environment supportive of participatory research. The project transforms a once-generic office into a space to foster community – embedding stories, art, and knowledge throughout the design.
The main entrance showcases a parametric wall installation illustrating the motion of water, as well as a triptych titled “Air, Earth and Water” by the acclaimed artist Roy Thomas. Glass panels dividing the office are decorated with custom geometric decals portraying the story of the Thunderbird. This is the origin of the name Waakebiness; in the Anishinaabemowin language, it means Radiant Thunderbird from the South.