INFRASTRUCTURE

University of Toronto set to get ‘stunning’ new architectural landmark

SOURCE: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Plans for the new University of Toronto building at 90 Queen’s Park Crescent.

World-renowned architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro have secured the contract from the University of Toronto (UT) to design a striking architectural landmark that creates a cultural and intellectual gateway between university and city.

The firm behind New York City’s High Line and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, will pair up with Toronto’s architects Alliance, with ERA Architects serving as the team’s heritage consultants.

The university hopes the new nine-storey investment will bring together academic and public spaces to create a hub for urban and cultural engagement.

‘Invaluable opportunity’

“This stunning architectural landmark will provide the University of Toronto with an invaluable opportunity to create a meeting space for scholars and the wider city around us,” UT President Meric Gertler said in a statement.

“It also gives the School of Cities a permanent home for its urban-focused research, educational and outreach initiatives.”

But the building will offer far more than just a place of study, there is also designated areas for public use and it will even house the Royal Ontario Museum.

Initial plans for the 90 Queen’s Park Crescent lot are already showing how impressive the construction will be.

One of the building’s most striking features is a music recital hall, with a large window serving as an exceptional backdrop to the stage and providing the audience with south-facing views of the Toronto skyline.

Above the hall will be a 400-seat event space with similar skyline views. There will also be a café on the ground floor and a multi-storey atrium leading up to the recital hall.

“They’re very provocative and thoughtful architects,” said UT’s Chief of University Planning, Design and Construction, Gilbert Delgado.

“This dramatic building expresses the very special role of the university within the city.” 

Delgado believes the new centre will quickly become a Toronto landmark, acting as a gateway connecting Toronto’s cultural corridor with the university.

“It represents an important new addition to the cultural corridor with the Gardiner Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Faculty of Law and Queen’s Park,” he said.

Linking the university to the community

Given the school’s location on the edge of the campus, bordering with the city, UT hopes it will become a place for “public exchange” and collaborative discourse between city and academia.

“The edges of the campus and its borders with the city are the places where you engage the community and the vibrancy of the city of Toronto,” said Dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, Richard Sommer.

“When you have buildings that are at these edges, it’s particularly important that they have programming that produces a platform for public exchange.”

In keeping with UT’s commitment to sustainability, the building will adhere to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) sustainability standards.

“It will use roughly 40 percent less energy than a conventional building of this type,” Delgado says. “The dominant issue right now in terms of sustainability is minimising the carbon footprint of our buildings and our facilities.”