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The University of Toronto’s new learning and support hub is a ‘learning landscape’

ZAS Architects designed the building.

August 12, 2020 |
Learning Landscape building exterior

All renderings courtesy ZAS Architects

The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) is set to receive a new student-centered learning and support hub courtesy of ZAS Architects, in collaboration with CEBRA Architecture.

The design of the building is inspired by the form of a 19th century Printer’s Tray. The building’s four distinct facades mirror the tray’s compartments and represent the diversity of spaces and educational environments within. The framed grid that forms the building’s facade creates a design that combines various volumes, scales, surfaces, and spatial qualities. 

 

UTSC learning landscape building

 

The facility is described as a dynamic learning landscape that promotes agile and asynchronous education through a complex arrangement of rooms and open public spaces spanning multiple floors. Artificially-created terrain spills from the outside in to create a hybrid of social and study areas that support campus life. 

Students will have access to a multitude of flexible, technology-enabled spaces, including 21 classrooms ranging from a 500-seat auditorium (dubbed the Campfire auditorium) to 24-seat active learning environments. The learning spaces sit on top of each other. Creating opportunities for platform and bleacher seating space known as the Knoll, which scales the roof of the 210-seat Butterfly Cave tiered auditorium.

 

Students in the Butterfly cave

 

A large study/social space, dubbed the Office, sits atop the Campfire auditorium, which protrudes two meters above the ground floor. Ascending rows allow for spatial flexibility and create a dynamic viewing experience for students, promoting immersive learning in an interactive, asynchronous environment with surrounding digital screens. The learning landscape extends horizontally across the ground floor, which features a recessed facade that is highly transparent with mullion-free structural glass panes. At the top of the building, meanwhile, two rooftop gardens will merge indoor and outdoor spaces to enhance the public realm within the upper floors.

 

UTSC interior of new student hub

 

Health and wellness elements are featured throughout, but are central to the fifth floor, where the campus-wide Student Affairs programs will be consolidated and prioritized into one central and accessible space. This will include counseling and mental health resources, a meditation and breastfeeding room, a physician and nurse office, academic advising and accessibility services, and multiple co-working spaces.

 

UTSC interior space

 

UTSC green space

 

The Campfire auditorium

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