Michael Maltzan Architecture reveals variegated new dorms for the University of Toronto

Canadian Cut-Outs

Michael Maltzan Architecture reveals variegated new dorms for the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto (UT) recently unveiled a proposal for the Harbord Residence, a 10-story graduate dorm building designed by Los Angeles-based firm Michael Maltzan Architecture, with local firm architectsAlliance serving as the architect of record, for the St. George campus north of Downtown Toronto. Currently pending approval from the University Council, the proposal would provide housing for over 200 graduate students as well as much-need social and study spaces for the 180-acre campus.

“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 Anne Macdonald, the university’s assistant vice-president of ancillary services, according to a press statement. “As you go up the building, there are different levels of community-building, with shared spaces and private spaces upstairs.” The ground floor would contain a food court and retail space, while the upper floors would host common lounges, meeting spaces, and quiet study rooms which, according to the university, would be designed to accommodate group work.

While clad in red brick to blend into its relatively squat surroundings (representing a rare deviation from the firm’s penchant for all-white facades), the Harbord Residence is also designed to stand out, most notably through the addition of a gestural window layout on its narrowest elevation that contrasts the overall rectilinear geometry. The building will be further integrated into the campus by physically sharing its amenities with those of The Graduate House, a neighboring dorm building completed by the Los Angeles-based Morphosis in 2000, via an underground pedestrian tunnel and a sky bridge on the third level.

If approved, construction on the Harbord Residence would break ground this fall and be completed by the end of 2022. The firm was commissioned to design the dorm as a part of the university’s ‘Four Corners’ strategy,’ which intends to add approximately 2,500 units of housing to the campus over the next 15 years.

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