Designed by New York-based architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the new University of Toronto building is a nine-storey development located at 90 Queen’s Park Crescent. The new U of T landmark will be built on the site of the McLaughlin Planetarium, which was closed in 1995.
According to a press release, the building will adhere to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) standards as part of U of T’s commitment to sustainability.
“It will use roughly 40 per cent less energy than a conventional building of this type,” says Gilbert Delgado, U of T’s chief of university planning, design and construction. “The dominant issue right now in terms of sustainability is minimizing the carbon footprint of our buildings and our facilities.”
The building features a music recital hall, with a large window serving as a 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.
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 and there will be space designated for classrooms and public spaces, as well as for the Royal Ontario Museum.
Delgado says Diller Scofidio + Renfro (in consultation with Toronto’s ERA Architects) will draw on their experience designing cultural and academic spaces to create a building that will inevitably become a Toronto landmark as building’s location will serve as a gateway that connects Toronto’s cultural corridor with the university. The building will also honour U of T’s history and heritage, carefully incorporating the 118-year-old Falconer Hall, part of the Faculty of Law, into its design.
Charles Renfro, partner-in-charge at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, says the building is designed to encourage individual scholarship while fostering collaborative discourse and public engagement.