Diamond Schmitt, Knightstone add to student residence projects

IMAGE: A look at an interior common area at Campus1 Montreal. (Courtesy Diamond Schmitt Architects)

A look at an interior common area at Campus1 Montreal. (Courtesy Diamond Schmitt Architects)

A 10-year collaboration between Knightstone Capital Management and Diamond Schmitt Architects is continuing in Montreal with the opening of the Campus1 Montreal student residence across the street from the McGill University campus.

“I was introduced to David Lehberg, CEO of Knightstone, in 2009,”  Diamond Schmitt principal Don Schmitt told RENX in an interview about the latest project. “We got on well and started working on CampusOne at the University of Toronto a few months later.

“It was their first student residence. Our two firms have worked together ever since.”

In addition to CampusOne, Diamond Schmitt has also designed Parkside Student Residence and Centennial Place & Culinary Arts Centre in Toronto for Knightstone.

Campus1 Montreal was formerly a hotel

The Campus1 Montreal development converted a 19-storey, concrete, former hotel building, and was Diamond Schmitt’s second hotel-to-student residence transformation. The design-to-construction completion process was 18 months.

“Hotels are about providing a quiet, temporary place to sleep, while student residences are about security, long-term residency, studying and social interaction,” said Gary Watson, project architect and senior associate with Diamond Schmitt. “This difference, coupled with the fact it’s a 55-year-old building, resulted in enormous design and construction efforts to make this adaptive re-use feel natural.

“In addition to updating the building to modern building codes and providing better Internet, we removed all of the walls, ceilings and floor finishes, and relocated plumbing pipes, electrical services and mechanical duct work on the ground and first-floor common spaces.

“We relocated the existing restaurant and kitchen from the front to the back, which impacts basement levels for services and servicing. The kitchen and dining hall are a core necessity for student life and, by moving this to the back of the floor plate, we were able to create a variety of study and interactive spaces that students pass on their way to the dining hall, reinforcing the importance of social interaction.”

Campus1 Montreal’s ground floor contains a collaborative media module, study room, classroom and games room. Recreational amenities on the second floor include a basketball court, a weight and cardio room, and a yoga studio.

Floors have different amenities

Campus1 Montreal’s residential floors underwent drywall and ceiling repairs, and received new flooring and bathrooms as well as redesigned corridors. Common-use amenities differ from floor to floor to encourage inter-floor socialization. They include study rooms, classrooms, games rooms, meditation rooms, movie theatres, kitchens and lounges.

Campus1 Montreal has 481 suites and 886 bedrooms. Most suites feature two bedrooms, a common room and a bathroom.

With Campus1 Montreal completed, Knightstone and Diamond Schmitt have now turned their developmental efforts to a 1,400-bed undergraduate residence adjacent to the McMaster University campus in Hamilton. This project is scheduled for completion in 2022.

They’re also designing a 30-storey graduate student residence for McMaster which sits kitty corner to city hall in downtown Hamilton.

The two firms have a number of other student residence proposals in the development pipeline, according to Schmitt.

About Diamond Schmitt and Knightstone

Knightstone is a privately owned Toronto-based boutique real estate investment, asset management and development company.

Its portfolio is comprised of institutional-grade retail properties and student residences. The company has developed more than one million square feet of retail space throughout southern Ontario.

Diamond Schmitt has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York City. Its portfolio includes post-secondary facilities, performing arts centres, and residential, institutional and commercial buildings.

The firm’s current projects include: the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library; Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa; Robarts Common at the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library; and the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences in Lubbock, Texas.


Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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