Design for new pavilion in Toronto includes a ‘peel-away’ façade

An architect's proposal for a renovation of the main office building at the Ontario College of Art and Design features a façade that fans out from the edges of the building, like it’s opening up to visitors. 

July 02, 2015 |
Design for new pavilion in Toronto includes a ‘peel-away’ façade, Ontario, Bortolotto Architects, OCAD

Renderings courtesy Bortolotto Architects

OCAD U, formerly known as the Ontario College of Art and Design, wants the surrounding community to reimagine its main office building as an interactive gateway for its campus in Toronto.

To achieve that goal, the university commissioned a $6 million renovation for that 16,300-sf building, whose exterior will be shrouded with a diaphanous white veil of water-jet-cut aluminum panels on metal framing secured by structural steel outriggers.

The façade that Bortolotto Design Architect has proposed would fan out from the edges of the building, like it’s opening up to visitors. The veil will also provide street-level views of student artwork.

ArchDaily reports that the college’s Digital Media Research Lab is developing an app to read information from specific sections of the façade, so pedestrians will be able to learn about different local artists.

OCAD U is rebranding the building as The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, named after benefactors Rosalie and Isadore Sharp, who donated $3 million of the project’s budget. The college is paying the rest. The office building’s interior space will be converted into a flexible-use, student-oriented facility that includes minimalist studios and rooms for meetings and events.

The Building Team on this renovation also includes Blackwell (SE), ENSO Systems (mechanical/electrical engineer), and Halsall Associates (sustainability consultant). The contractor has yet to be chosen, and the groundbreaking date still needs to be set.

Bortolotto reportedly came up with this patterned veil design by mapping data about Toronto’s artistic community in order to position OCAD U as the nucleus of that activity, and as a cross-disciplinary, collaborative institution.

“The pattern inscribed in the scrim is defined as the notion of OCAD U as densely embedded within the urban fabric of the city,” Tania Bortolotto, the firm’s president, told Daily Commercial News.

The Arch Daily report notes that the peel-away edges of the pavilion “gesture” toward the nearby Art Gallery of Ontario, designed by Frank Gehry; as well as the university’s Sharp Centre for Design, designed by aLL Design’s Will Alsop. 


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