Echoing Function at McMaster's Gerald Hatch Centre

March 6, 2019


Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the Hatch Centre is a new hub for the university’s 5,000 undergraduate engineering students. It provides spaces for users to collaborate, gain hands-on experience and access support services.

The simple, cost-effective environmental graphics program designed for McMaster’s Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering and Experiential Learning achieves more than identification and orientation: it’s a great example of how through thoughtful design, signage can reflect the vision, essence and core functions of a space.

In the creation of directory graphics, Entro developed a nomenclature that identifies the building’s four floors by function. Active verbs – RESEARCH, BUILD, MEET, and SUPPORT – emphasize the Centre’s focus on participation and engagement. The first floor – BUILD – houses a build space for student clubs to work on large-scale projects such as solar car development. MEET offers collaborative spaces like The Junction, a bright, open social area featuring an architectural clock tower element.

The building’s striking red floors, the clock tower and the big, bold JUNCTION lettering can be seen from floors above and below, creating a sense of unity among the Centre’s different programs.

The applied-vinyl environmental graphics echo the dark grey vertical lines and pillars of the common spaces to further tie the levels together and identify the stairs as the primary mode of vertical circulation.

Pictograms, messaging and fun level indicators further encourage stair climbing, an activity in keeping with the Centre’s emphasis on student well-being, sustainability, and green energy research.

The graphics program, as a whole, complements the simplicity of the building design, punctuates the architectural accents and offers a streamlined, clean look and feel for a very active hub and campus thoroughfare.