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95 King St E Arts Centre & Lofts

TCA / Thier + Curran Architects

Project Name

95 King St E Arts Centre & Lofts


95 King Street East

Project Status


Year Completed



1,467 sq. meters

Construction Cost



CityHousing Hamilton


  • Structural Engineer: Maitland Spencer
  • Electrical Engineer: Fortech Engineering Ltd.
  • : CoPa Engineering Ltd.

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Project Description

An adaptive reuse of a high visibility historic building into an arts centre; the building has housed a hardware store, a prominent nightclub, a pool hall and most notoriously and recently, a strip club. Aimed at contributing to the burgeoning downtown renewal well established nearby, the renovation is intended as a renewal catalyst of Hamilton’s Gore Park area at the heart of the city’s downtown.

With a modest $3 Million construction budget, 95 King is a bold and dynamic renovation that includes remarkable attention to inspirational elements and touchstones for the artistic community it houses. Whimsy, warmth, uncommon touches and bold colours allow the project to transcend the ordinary, making this a home for artists, not simply affordable housing.

The program includes a ground floor 1,800 ft2 art gallery and multi-purpose space. It is two stories high, with a full storefront. Four main floor studios are double height, daylit spaces. There are four smaller basement studios, a meeting room, shared washrooms and a wash-up area, laundry, storage, etc.. The upper two floors contain twelve one bedroom loft apartments.

Fragments and unique traces of the old have been sensitively blended with the new, with featured exposed brick walls, wood ceilings, polished original concrete floors, and original steel columns and beams bearing the insignia of a lost storied local company.

Soaring ceilings afforded by the existing building heights lend an expansiveness to the loft apartments which are modest in size, ranging from 500 to 700 ft2. Amenities like parquet wood floors, frosted glass sliding bedroom doors and custom wood trim belie typical affordable housing expectations.

Apartment unit entrances feature tile surrounds, lights and custom signage including a panel for mounting of personalized identity mementos for the artist tenants.

Bright colours, unique lighting, and custom designed elements characterize the common areas of the building. TCA designed custom signage and graphics throughout and collaborated with local metal artists to uniquely hand tool all metal doors.

The apartment lobby features custom millwork including a bench for lingering and a focal mailbox/bulletin board display wall designed around the fragments of an old wall safe. Inspirational arts-related quotes are found throughout the housing lobby and on every apartment and studio door.

As Hamilton’s steelmaking heritage is supplanted by its burgeoning art community, the popular slogan ‘Art is the New Steel’ is acknowledged by the use of raw steel elements, thoughtfully designed.

A new two storey storefront of glass and faceted metal panels is a clear delineation from the restored masonry above. The dynamic angled and sculpted storefront is deeply recessed to create emphasis as a public building on the streetscape.

A massive Brazillian cherry pivot door with custom pulls adds gravitas to the arts centre entry and is a strong identifying element.

The sensitive balance of heritage features and robust modern insertions have helped this adaptive reuse transform this building into a powerful catalyst for the renewal of Hamilton’s Gore Park neighbourhood, while creating a new hub for Hamilton’s growing arts community.
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