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Perkins and Will designs new vertical campus for Ryerson University

The 28-story tower is located in Toronto.

March 05, 2021 |
Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex exterior Perkins and Will

Photos: Tom Arban Photography


Perkins and Will and Ryerson University have recently unveiled the new Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex in downtown Toronto. The 28-story tower will connect students to the vibrancy of the city while also unifying Ryerson’s academic and residential functions.

Perkins and Will’s Toronto and Vancouver studios conceived the project as a vertical campus typology, the first of its kind for Ryerson University. The design adapts Toronto’s prevalent podium-tower model, lifting the building’s volumes to create an active streetscape and continuous public spaces from the ground level to the roof. 


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex lobby


The nearly 300,000-sf building is located on the eastern edge of Ryerson’s campus and has become a new gateway into the campus from the east side. The building is clad in white aluminum panels and accented with orange. The orange threads visually represent the public spaces that are woven throughout the building, putting its activities on display.


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex gathering space


Four academic departments (Nursing, Midwifery, Nutrition, and Occupational and Public Health) are integrated within the first eight stories. The programs are supported by a variety of new classrooms, teaching kitchens, and labs. A Digital Fabrication lab, visible from the public realm, and flexible research facilities are also included. Residence dorms rise above 18 stories and house up to 330 students.

At pedestrian level a public atrium includes a cafe and spaces to socialize and study, creating new porosity with connections that link the city to the heart of the campus. Large windows help to create a seamless indoor-outdoor transition.


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex test kitchen


The Complex is also outfitted with machine-learning systems and sustainable technologies, such as a green roof that acts as an urban farm for the ground-floor cafe and a greywater system for faucets, toilets, and showers.

The Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. It is expected to use 32% less energy and consume 35% less potable water than traditional construction. A metering and monitoring system allows the residence students to view their energy and water consumption online.

The building officially completed in 2019.


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex Digital Fabrication lab


Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex urban farm roof

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