Hamilton, ON

McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind


McMaster University’s Psychology Department began highly specialized research into the connection between music, the mind and movement. The goal was to add a Live Lab, where any acoustical environment in the world would be replicated, with technology to allow for the measurement of the physical reactions to music and movements, as an audience and musician. To expand, the only option was to go up, presenting a unique set of structural, logistical and functional challenges.


The 100-seat theater represents a unique collaboration between the scientists, engineers, and architects. The lightweight structure hangs over the existing building, balanced by heavy materials such as concrete block walls. The mechanical and electrical ductwork and HVAC components were designed to distribute the weight within the new structure, while adhering to the strict noise dampening requirements. It achieved NC 10 noise criterion by isolating the interior within critical zones, helped by double walls, acoustic paneling, concrete-lined ceiling, and a floating floor. Dry and wet labs, compliment the one-of-a-kind Live Lab, supporting the team’s unique research objectives.


Architecture, Interior Design, Laboratory Design


Education, Science & Research

Team Leaders

Drew Hauser
Joanne McCallum
Michelle Austin

Partners & sub consultants

VRM - Structure, Mechanical, Electrical, Prime Consultant
Novita - Theatre Specalist
STF - Contractors


12,000 SQ. FT.


2014 HBSA Architectural Awards of Excellence Award of Excellence, Renovation Institutional


One Of A Kind