University of Toronto proposes new 9-storey building

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Figure 1A rendering of the new U of T building located at 90 Queen's Park (rendering by bloomimages, courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

The University of Toronto unveiled plans to construct a building at 90 Queen’s Park Crescent. The proposal for the project will come forward for consideration by university governance.

The nine-storey building will be designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The New York-based firm is working with Toronto’s architects Alliance. 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,” U of T 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.”

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.

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.

The building will follow the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) sustainability standards. It will use roughly 40 per cent less energy than a conventional building of this type.

The building will be built on the site of the McLaughlin Planetarium, which was closed in 1995. The university’s department of astronomy and astrophysics has included a state-of-the-art planetarium theatre in its plans for a proposed new building at 50 St. George St.

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