U of T unveils plans for new graduate residence

Monday, January 6, 2020

The University of Toronto (U of T) has unveiled plans for a 10-storey residence building on Harbord Street that would provide housing for more than 200 graduate students and expand living, social and study spaces on the St. George campus.

With a brick exterior and unique window cutouts, the proposed Harbord Residence envisions a mix of dormitory-style and single-occupancy rooms that would help meet the rapidly growing demand for graduate student housing options.

The proposed residence would also feature a bridge connecting it to neighbouring Graduate House, with the two buildings sharing amenities including an event space, food court, lounges and study rooms.

The project is being designed by Los Angeles-based Michael Maltzan Architecture and would be executed with Toronto’s architectsAlliance.

Anne Macdonald, U of T’s assistant vice-president of ancillary services, said the proposed building would be a welcome addition to campus since current demand for graduate student housing is more than double the number of available spaces.

The upper levels of the proposed building would consist of residential space and smaller lounge spaces for the exclusive use of residents of both Harbord Residence and Graduate House.

The second and third floors would host common lounges, meeting spaces, residence life offices and quiet study rooms. And the ground floor would accommodate a food court and retail space, acting as the interface between the building and the surrounding Huron-Sussex neighbourhood.

“One of the things we wanted the architect to do for us was to have the ground plane be a more welcoming place for the broader community – for our neighbours and other U of T community members to come in,” said Macdonald. “As you go up the building, there are different levels of community-building, with shared spaces and private spaces upstairs.”

The design of study spaces in the building would take into account students’ evolving study habits, with an increased emphasis on rooms that facilitate group work.

The proposal, anticipated to enter the university’s governance process in 2020, follows last year’s announcement of an agreement to build a 23-storey resdience tower at the corner of Spadina and Sussex Avenues. That building, which will house more than 500 students, is expected to be completed in 2021.

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