This project called for the renewal of the main entrance to University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) campus and greater connection to the community. The client had a need for a new gateway feature, and engaged Kearns Mancini in developing a vision and concept for the project.
What UTM desired was a substantial sense of presence at the front-door to its campus; a design that would be impossible to miss but also something that was in keeping with their history and location. A focus group took these ideas and worked with Kearns Mancini. As the work progressed through various iterations and with Kearns Mancini‘s guidance, the design team captured perfectly what the UTM was trying to envision and achieve.
3359 Mississauga Road North, Mississauga, ON
University Of Toronto
Jonathan Kearns, Peter Ng, Sharon Leung
Greg van Riel Photography
The gateway design is an expression of UTM, of the very bedrock upon which the University is built – Credit Valley stone. The selection of material speaks to the site’s former use as a quarry, while the configuration of a gateway recalls the site as a transportation route for the original area inhabitants.
It expresses the strength and endurance of the educational institution that is UTM and symbolizes the growth and evolution of learning – beginning with nature in its stony rawness and evolving as education has to achieve greater precision, clarity and illumination. At the same time, the entrance speaks to the people who founded the University, acknowledging in particular the second Principal of Erindale College, Dr. John Tuzo Wilson.
Dr. Wilson was an internationally acclaimed geophysicist and geologist who advanced our understanding of plate-tectonics theory and conceived the Transform Fault, a major plate boundary where two plates move past each other horizontally. Inspired by the drama of shifting tectonic plates on a global scale, the design of the gateway pays homage to Tuzo Wilson and the Transform Fault geology for which he is so well known.
The new middle entrance places UTM strongly in the built landscape, for the first time giving the campus a clear identity and presence on Mississauga Road, one which transcends the notion of gateway and speaks to the evolving nature of education. The entrance has come to symbolize both the natural landscape of Mississauga, as well as the school’s achievements and future aspirations.
The massive, asymmetrical, cliff-like structure that guards the main entrance to the Mississauga campus of the University of Toronto is as much sculpture as gateway. Its rugged, arresting presence both welcomes and challenges. Constructed with blocks of limestone filled with fossils, crushed by ice and quarried on a nearby site, the structure evokes time immemorial. Its aggressively angular, ever-shifting parameters, pay homage to the first Principal, the great geophysicist and geologist Tuzo Wilson (1908-1993), who advanced the theory of plate tectonics. The product of the creative genius of Kearns Mancini Architects, it recalls their powerful evocation of Ireland’s western cliffs at Ireland Park.