The Luminato Festival at the Hearn Power Plant

Toronto, Canada

Teaming up with Canada’s acclaimed Luminato Festival and PARTISANS Architects, we transformed the decommissioned Hearn Power Plant into the world’s largest temporary multi-arts centre.

A cast of actors gather on the Hearn stage.

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Luminato Festival in Toronto in the summer of 2016, the festival’s ambitious leaders teamed up with PARTISANS Architects and Charcoalblue to transform an iconic decommissioned power plant - the Hearn Power Station - into the world’s largest temporary multi-arts centre. There would be theatre programming, amplified and acoustic music programming, gallery spaces, participatory workshops and talks, a world-class restaurant situated in the former control room, and even a base-jumping demonstration from the smoke stack.

The innovative repurposing of a former industrial space, combined with a surprising and constantly-evolving audience experience make for an ambitious and exciting project. Luminato’s ambition was for a cross-pollination between diverse audiences, restaurant-goers, urban explorers, and curious minds to inspire further reclamation of previously-unused public spaces.

“...draws previously unrealised connections between architecture, performance and experience.”

Jerad Schomer and Clemeth Abercrombie, ‘Into The Culture Cave’

The floor plan of the festival site.

The construction team assemble the festival stages.

We used shipping containers to create the 1,100 seat Hearn Theatre – dedicated to a touring production of The National Theatre of Scotland’s James plays.

We worked with Luminato’s artistic staff and the National Theatre of Scotland to devise an acoustic scheme which would support of the huge variety of programming, ranging from spoken word to thumping amplified music.

The acoustic design for the Hearn includes a combination of sound-reflecting and absorbing surfaces designed to tame the natural acoustic of a 700,000 cubic meter volume.

We proposed a radical framework for the building, which would enable audiences to move throughout the four key performance spaces. We used shipping containers to create the 1,100 seat Hearn Theatre – dedicated to a touring production of The National Theatre of Scotland’s James plays, and designed an adaptable Music Stage that could accommodate 2,000 seated and 5,000 standing which hosted the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the industrial/gothic noise of Sunn O))), Rufus Wainwright performing Judy Garland, and the Canadian participatory choral group Choir, Choir, Choir. We worked with Luminato’s artistic staff and the National Theatre of Scotland to devise an acoustic scheme which would support of the huge variety of programming, ranging from spoken word to thumping amplified music. The acoustic design for the Hearn includes a combination of sound-reflecting and absorbing surfaces designed to tame the natural acoustic of a 700,000 cubic meter volume.

Watch the official post-festival video here.

Project Details

Client

Luminato Festival

Completed

2016

The exterior of the Hearn.

Credits

Architect

PARTISANS

Photography

Jonathan Castellino

Jerad's headshot

Talk to Jerad about Luminato at the Hearn.

+1.212.645.0790

Jerad's headshot

Talk to Jerad about Luminato at the Hearn.

Contact Jerad

+1.212.645.0790