The Quarters Downtown is about to get two small but important boosts toward revitalization. Two vacant buildings in the Boyle Street neighbourhood are currently undergoing renovations, and soon to become new homes for two arts organizations.

CO*LAB rendering, image via RPK Architects

The City of Edmonton and Quarters Arts Society have come together to refurbish a nondescript vacant building on 102a Avenue between 96 and 97 Streets to create CO*LAB, or Community Arts Laboratory. The nearly 6,000-square-foot space will offer a workshop studio, gallery space, a cafe, a 250-seat performance hall, and a digital media lab.

Interior construction work, photo by Forum contributor Kaizen

Designed by Rockliff Pierzchajlo Kroman (RPK) Architects, the building will get a modest facelift with whitewashed bricks, eye-catching yellow accents, and new large garage doors facing the street.

Construction underway, photo by Dave Sutherland

Further east, another relatively nondescript building is getting a somewhat less modest facelift. Also designed by RPK Architects, this building is being outfitted to become the new home of Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective.

Exterior work underway, photo by Dave Sutherland

Located on the 96 Street "Armature" at 101a Avenue - right across the street from the Quarters Hotel and directly visible from busy Jasper Avenue - the 6,500-square-foot Ociciwan Contemporary Art Collective building is being outfitted as a public gallery space for Indigenous contemporary art. The renovation will also add new community meeting spaces, a resource library, offices for rent, and a kitchen to support community events.

Ociciwan Contemporary Arts Collective rendering, image via RPK Architects

The exterior of the building is being clad in vertical aluminum composite panels that have a mirrored finish that will reflect the sky and surroundings in kaleidoscopic fashion.

Interior model, image via RPK Architects

These two projects join a multitude of new public and private developments in The Quarters, which will no doubt help attract further new development in an area that is perhaps currently better known for its over-abundance of surface parking lots, but which holds enormous potential as a vibrant and diverse urban community.

The City Market moved to The Quarters this summer, photo by Forum contributor Kaizen

SkyriseEdmonton will continue to follow these projects as they progress. More information can be found in the Database entries linked below. What do you think of these new arts facilities? Let us know in the comments below, or join the discussion in our Forum!