New U of T building to create a cultural and intellectual gateway between university and city
21 Feb 2019
University of Toronto

A proposed new University of Toronto building at 90 Queen’s Park Crescent will bring together academic and public spaces to create a hub for urban and cultural engagement.

…The nine-storey building will be designed by world-renowned architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the firm behind New York City’s High Line and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The New York-based firm is working with Toronto’s architectsAlliance. ERA Architects is serving as the team’s heritage consultants.

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

In addition to the School of Cities, the building will house a number of academic units from the Faculty of Arts & Science, including history, Near and Middle Eastern civilizations, as well as the Institute of Islamic Studies, an arm of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and the Archaeology Centre. It will also provide facilities for the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Music.

There will also be space designated for classrooms and public spaces, as well as for the Royal Ontario Museum.

“It will be a building that brings a diverse grouping of folks together to advance knowledge around cities and how they can work successfully, contributing to a positive impact here in the city but also more globally,” says Scott Mabury, U of T’s vice-president, operations and real estate partnerships.

…Among the building’s showpieces 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.

“Because the building is a large and complex site, the experience doesn't just play out on the ground floor, it climbs through in a kind of spiral up until the performance space," says Richard Sommer, dean of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design and a member of the university’s Design Review Committee.

And the views will be just as impressive from the exterior of the building, says Delgado.

“The building is very engaging,” he says, adding that it will be particularly striking when driving or walking northbound along Queen’s Park Crescent.

Delgado says the building’s location will serve as a gateway that connects 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.”

…As part of U of T’s commitment to sustainability, …“[i]t will use roughly 40 per cent less energy than a conventional building of this type,” Delgado says. “The dominant issue right now in terms of sustainability is minimizing the carbon footprint of our buildings and our facilities.”

Originally published on the University of Toronto website on 21 February 2019: