University of Toronto Scarborough Campus Passive House Student Residence

At Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. (KMAI), we understand the significance of Passive House design methodology. True sustainability comes from measures and practices we make to limit our impact on the earth, allowing us to live as we do today without continued long-term effects on the planet; practices that support us and help us to live better and do not set out to diminish our livelihoods, our health or our ability to develop as people, cultures, nations. We collectively, have been working on Passive House since 2009.

Our work is our testament. The proposed design concept for a student residence at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) employs Passive House. UTSC is positioning itself as a leader among educational facilities across North America. Collaborating with innovative architectural practices, the UTSC’s primary goal has been to enhance the student experience by providing state-of-the-art, sustainable and timeless facilities. And in doing so, it has recognized the Passive House Standard as the future of sustainable architectural design. Their commitment to build their new 750-bed Student Residence according to the International Passive House Standard, UTSC has committed to providing their students with optimal living conditions.

The concept design for this student residence building has been sensitive to the existing campus context while at the same time contributing a distinctive presence. It provides a welcoming and secure home for the students, creating a strong sense of community. Planned to be built on a site of what is now a surface parking lot, this proposed eight and ten-storey facility is adjacent to the intersection of Ellesmere Road and Military Trail. Employing an integrated design approach, this contemporary dormitory includes single and double occupancy bedrooms, a campus dining hall, mixed-use spaces for workshop style learning, retail spaces, wellness studio, lounges, student housing and residence life offices, hoteling offices and visiting scholar suites.  The main entrance will be a semi-public space to be used by students, other members of the university and by local community guests. The design further allows for the abundance of natural light throughout the interior spaces and creates an internal pedestrian street that runs through the building, showcasing its amenities and fostering collaborations.



Scarborough, Ontario

Planning, Design and Compliance Completed

Gross Sq. Ft.

Project Value

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus

Project Team
Jonathan Kearns, Deborah Byrne, Alice Gibson, Kelly Fisher


Media Coverage

How Canadians are constructing North America's biggest green buildings

Across Canada, green buildings are scaling up, including a university residence for 750 students and two highrise towers.

Byrne, who is the chair of the board for Passive House Canada, said while small passive houses rely on sunlight and a south-facing orientation to keep warm, that's not a problem for big buildings: "The heating is already inside." In the U of T residence, heat will be generated by 750...


Passive House Design: A Frontline Perspective

Passivhaus—or Passive House—is not about complex technologies. It’s about changing how we build, integrating low energy design criteria into projects from day one. There are five key Passive House principles. First: massively insulated, thermally broken airtight envelope. Second: triple-glazed...



Kearns Mancini has ensured that the building design has been sensitive to, and addresses, the existing campus context while at the same time contributing a distinctive presence. We consider Kearns Mancini Architects to be the leading Passive House architectural firm in Ontario.
Andrew Arifuzzaman
University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, Chief Administrative Officer

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