Toronto has rapidly evolved in recent years. As Canada’s most populous location, the Queen City has turned into a global powerhouse, both economically and as a cultural hub. The city’s educational, arts and civic buildings are thriving. New structures are emerging across the city, projects with critical rigor and innovative solutions. These new Toronto designs boast radical forms, rich spatial experiences, and avant-garde material assemblies, especially within the higher education sector. Here, modern building practices are reinterpreted to embrace the streetscape and new programmatic combinations.
Drawing together a collection of higher education projects across Toronto, we’re taking a closer look at how the city designs learning. Embodying contemporary culture, each project is representative of a design language that’s uniquely tied to its locale. Creating space for education, recreation and reflection, the designs integrate public space and gathering areas into creative learning environments. Found on campuses and university settings, they use novel envelopes and massing to articulate transition and define interior and exterior space. Acting as vehicles to encourage understanding, the designs advocate a new class of learning and collaboration in Toronto.
Located at York University, the Bergeron Centre was designed to rethink campus hierarchy and foster innovative learning methods. Created as a hub around learning, interaction and discovery, the project inverts typical programming by moving offices to the core and locating student areas to the brightest spaces.
Formed for Canada’s future artists, scholars and educators, these two facilities include space for music, theater and dance. Juxtaposing exhibition and performance spaces, the design also houses a student-run art gallery and the York University Art gallery.
Bringing in a record number of applicants, the Sharp Centre transformed the perception of OCAD. The iconic tabletop design by Will Alsop became a new standard for the reinvigoration of urban campus architecture.
This campus building at George Brown College was formed with large spans of continuous glazing and views oriented outside. The project includes a series of wrapped boxes that are stacked and sculpted around views and the surrounding context.
Designed around the University of Toronto’s Integrative Thinking curriculum, the Rotman School of Management fosters business innovation through learning. Made as a global hub to empower creativity, the project aims to establish the Rotman as a premier destination for the world of business.
Located next to Varsity Stadium on the downtown University of Toronto St. George campus, the Goldring Centre forms a new hub for research, therapy and sports for the campus community. Centering around two core programmatic elements — the field house and the strength and conditioning center — the project was made with a heroic steel frame vaulting over a cavernous excavation below.
Located on the University of Toronto’s Scraborough Campus, this science building was formed to foster collaboration among students, researchers and faculty. The design connects laboratories and offices around a sky-lit crossroads and gathering spaces.
Sited among indoor and outdoor learning spaces, this student center doubles the size of the original Wymilwood Building. The project includes primary spaces overlooking the campus quad and a new green space that connects the building to nature.
NADAAA’s design for the DFALD building was conceived as a two-phased approach made to re-position towards the southwest corner of campus on-axis with Lake Ontario to create a new identity. The design includes studio space, fabrication workshops, classrooms, administration areas, a library and a state of the art ‘urban theater’ as an island of program among layers of urban activity.
Snøhetta’s design for the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre was inspired by the historical gathering spaces of the Stoas and Agoras in ancient Greece. Designed with eight unique floors, the project focuses on socialization and exchange to encourage students to make spaces their own.