University of Toronto Mississauga North Building Expansion - UTM_North_Building_Expansion_1-1

University of Toronto Mississauga North Building Expansion

This short-listed proposal for the design of the University of Toronto Mississauga’s North Building Expansion was designed to respond to its distinctive context. UTM is a unique campus, with a growing reputation in academic achievement and a bucolic setting amongst mature woodlands. Within this context, UTM requested the development of a new academic building on the site of the existing North Building, to accommodate a variety of programs.

A Department of Mathematics and Computational Sciences, Psychology, Drama Rehearsal studios, new classrooms, and expanded student amenities were to be included in the renovation. Phase A was the first of a three phase redevelopment of the North Building. The fully redeveloped North Building would have consolidated space needs in the Faculty of Humanities, while redefining the western edge of the UTM Campus, as well as the Campus Green and related pedestrian circulation paths. Thus, Kearns Mancini’s proposal took advantage of an opportunity to integrate academia with architecture, to achieve a holistic ecology of human interaction and integration within the environment.

The massing of the building is composed of several major volumes. The most prominent is the Wintergarden. Its glass wall and operable solar curtain animate the south façades, depending on the season and time of the day. The prominent solar chimneys can be seen from many vantage points within the campus, from where they become identifiable icons, echoing the ecologically-minded design of the building. The west façade terminates the Five Minute Walk and begins a path toward the Instructional Centre and Library, which invites students from the residences to the south. Irregular course stone anchors the base of the Wintergarden, while the base of the ‘academic program block’ provides transparency to the cafeteria beyond.

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University of Toronto, Mississauga, ON

Gross Project Area

112,310 sq. ft.


University of Toronto Mississauga


Short-listed, Unbuilt

Project Team

Jonathan Kearns, Peter Ng, Sharon Leung, Gabriel Didiano

University of Toronto Mississauga North Building Expansion - UTM_North_Building_Expansion_2-2

Building Elevations

The Outer Circle Road elevation was a tripartite composition. The middle glass volume conveyed the triple height space behind the main front entrance, a prelude to the Wintergarden space beyond. To the south of the main entrance was the ‘classroom block’ of the building, which was to be clad in local manufactured stone panels, while the north portion afforded more windows for faculty offices, for views across Outer Circle Road to the woodlot. The north elevation was deliberately kept utilitarian in nature. Its simplicity and directness were considerations for the future Phase B expansion; the majority of this façade could easily be adapted, modified or removed to receive the next building phase.

Kearns Mancini’s approach to the design of the building was one which imbued spaces with natural light and transparency, allowing for changing seasons and academic life to intermingle, reflecting the dynamism of academic life at UTM. In effect, the proposed building was intended to ‘sustain’ the myriad functions of the University and the environment in which it is situated.

As a result of a chronic shortage of spaces for students to study or socialize, it had become a policy for UTM to address the space deficiencies with a range of student study spaces whenever new build projects provide the opportunity.

Subsequently, both the interior and exterior spaces of the building were designed to encourage social and academic interaction and to provide students and teachers with a range of suitable spaces. Inherent in the strategic priorities for UTM was a focus on teaching and research, as well as creating a student-centered research community.

Enhanced research space was needed that encourages interaction between researchers working on shared problems, and between undergraduates and graduate students, in ways that facilitate innovative approaches to problem solving.

University of Toronto Mississauga North Building Expansion - UTM_North_Building_Expansion_3-1

View of interior atrium

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