Student lounge on ground floor, main reception
View into classroom space
Idea Incubators, classroom space
Glazed partition walls, view of main corridor space
View of agile classroom space on upper floor

George Brown College Centre for Arts and Design | School of English as a Second Language

In 2011, George Brown College retained Kearns Mancini to transform the 3rd, 5th and 6th floors of the former Toronto Sun Building into the Centre of Arts & Design and the School of English as a Second Language for International Immigration.

The location of the former Toronto Sun building, on the prominent King Street East in Toronto, was an engaging departure point for the project given its prominence in the already vibrant downtown George Brown campus. As such, the project aimed to create new spaces for the College that would naturally link to the existing campus. The design converts and combines a portion of the existing 6 storey structure into classrooms and various educational amenities for George Brown College. Throughout the project, transparency was used as a spatial method to engage students. The functionality of spaces is increased by screens that are lowered in place during project presentations and lectures.

View of classroom

By leading a Program Validation and Feasibility phase, Kearns Mancini helped the College refine the space requirements for the interior renovation, allowing the design to accommodate an increased student population of approximately 1,500. These spaces include rooms for Idea Incubators, which function as condensers between businesses and the student body.


341 King St. East Toronto Sun Building, Toronto

Completed, 2012

Building Size
86,629 sq.ft

Project Value
$10 Million

George Brown College

Tom Arban

Project Team
Peter Ng, Tan Duong, Erika Zaphiratos

View of reception

The project presented the challenge of converting office and print shop spaces into an assembly occupancy. This involved the examination of all life safety systems and exit requirements and the capacity of the existing mechanical and electrical systems to meet changes in major occupancy codes.

The core of the Centre for Arts and Design is composed of two main common areas; a library and a lounge, which are flanked by a non-denominational prayer room. The main corridor doubles as a study area through the inclusion of carols and desks, and is accented by bright colours that aid in wayfinding by denoting specific rooms and an areas within the facility.

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