401 Richmond Internship Opportunity

Urbanspace Property Group is seeking an exceptional undergraduate candidate to work with the organization in the summer of 2021. The organization is eager to connect with students from any course of study who are passionate about urban planning, creative space-making, architecture, design and the Urbanspace Property development mission.

Brief description of organization:

Urbanspace Property Group owns and operates 401 Richmond Street West, a heritage-designated building in downtown Toronto since 1994. As a mission-driven developer and property manager, Urbanspace Property Group’s initiatives are directed toward the preservation and restoration of historic and architecturally significant spaces. The overall goal is to adaptively reuse old buildings to provide commercial opportunities for creative, non-profit and innovation sectors. Urbanspace incorporates sustainable building efforts and a commitment to environmentally sound practices in the restoration, operation, and maintenance of its property. The 401 Richmond complex provides space for artists’, galleries, film festivals, charities, not-for-profits, magazines, architects, theatre groups and design firms and fosters the development of an inspiring integration of commerce, culture, and community. The building’s renewal, more than 25 years ago, was inspired by author Jane Jacobs’ observation that “new ideas need old buildings” and the importance of diversity and mixed-uses in the city.

Description of placement:

We are undertaking a research initiative aimed at capturing an important narrative connected to the contribution of the 401 Richmond facility as a cultural influence in Toronto and beyond. Seen generally as a research and archiving initiative aimed at capturing a now fleeting historical narrative, the project will also serve to provide a platform on which future and ongoing analysis of 401 Richmond’s activity can be conducted. This initiative can be broadly described as an analysis of history, philosophy and architecture as it relates to the activities and tenancy of 401 Richmond Street. Currently, there is a dearth of documentation that preserves the narrative of the 401 Richmond contribution to Toronto’s cultural life. It is anticipated that this initiative would function as a living archive with a dynamic, media-rich and searchable online database as a key component.

Tasks and responsibilities of the placement may include:

  • Conducting historical and present-day research around the function and impact of 401 Richmond Street West as a cultural hub and creative catalyst;
  • Undertake the examination and contextualization of organization’s archival materials, and data from other sources such as press items, related to the general history and record of tenancy at 401 Richmond in an effort to create a detailed, content-rich timeline of the facility’s evolution;
  • Develop and implement an interview strategy that will engage former and current tenants along with select external stakeholders with the purpose of capturing unique narrative that evidences the importance of 401 Richmond as community contributor and nexus;
  • Utilize textual and multimedia approaches to capturing narrative material, which will become a foundation component of a dedicated website presence;
  • Assist in the development of a dedicated website including conceptualization of its architecture and navigation along with content archiving.

Virtual team meetings will take place weekly, and the candidate will work in consultation with the organization’s Curator, Special Projects, who will also provide ongoing support particularly as liaison with tenants and stakeholders.

Special Requirements for a student placed in this organization: Currently, the opportunity is largely expected to take place remotely with the possibility of occasional site visits as permitted by provincial pandemic guidelines.

Timing or hours of placement: 8-10 hours per week.

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