Inspired by the Architecture, Entro develops youthful Wayfinding and Environmental Graphics for McMaster's new Student Residence

By Gord McTaggart, Partner at Entro


McMaster University’s new Peter George Centre for Living and Learning is the first new residence on campus in 15 years. The 335,000 square-foot building combines a 500-bed residence with academic spaces and student amenities. It was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects to meet the needs of a growing student body. Facilities include two auditoriums, an active learning classroom (405 seats), a children’s daycare, a café and underground parking. When designing the wayfinding and environmental graphics program, our goals were to infuse the space with youthful energy and draw inspiration from the building’s architectural features to ensure an integrated and cohesive experience. 
The Centre’s round atrium houses a striking helical staircase that links the academic and common spaces. Recognizing the staircase as an intuitive wayfinding landmark, we were inspired by its form to design curved signage panels that wrap the building’s columns. Floor level identification is also applied directly to the surface at each of the staircase landings to confirm your location within the complex.
We selected playful graphics and bold colours that enliven the space and help differentiate between different levels, graduating into lighter hues closer to the top of the building. More colourful applications were used for the common spaces and amenities, while more neutral tones were reserved for the classrooms and academic facilities.
The environmental graphics program helps integrate and differentiate academic and residential spaces using colour, patterns and typography. Bold colours and playful graphics welcome students, highlight the building's many student amenities and set the tone for socialization and collaboration.
Architect: Diamond Schmitt Architects
Fabricator: WSI
Photography: Doublespace, Adrian Ozimek
Entro team: Dave Wilkinson, Teodor Herman RGD, Monika Meyer, Vanessa Tarasio, James Smirlies