University of Toronto, Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Project Info
University of Toronto, Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Completion Date: 2007
Square Footage: 98,000
LEED Silver certified

Innovation in Sustainable Design Award, 2008
American Library Association/International Interior Design Association

Award for Design Excellence, 2008
Ontario Association of Architects

Award of Excellence, 2007
Mississauga Urban Design Awards

This learning centre and library provides a vibrant focus for student activity on the University’s north campus. It is sited and designed to reinforce the campus plan with indoor and outdoor spaces that animate the campus and link to existing pathways and green space.

The need for high density mobile compact shelving to house the library’s permanent collection and the university’s desire to create a structure that would adapt well to the demands of future digital content led to a building design inspired by the metaphor of the Japanese puzzle box. An arrangement of interlocking pieces is organized around the building core, which becomes the “treasure” (library collection) within the box. This allows generous perimeter space for study and lounge areas in an open and flexible arrangement with views out to the surrounding campus and natural landscape.

The library provides a wide range of collaborative study and work environments, which reflect evolving pedagogical and technological trends as well as student work habits. A series of interconnected, 2-story spaces provides clear circulation and orientation within the building as well as space for social interaction and collaboration. An information commons, café, conference space, instructional lab, and career counseling center are located along this linear “street”.

The stepped atrium, 2-story cantilevered study wing on the building’s west façade, study bays to the east and north, the south-facing roof garden, and three sunken gardens all pull the outdoor environment into the building and push the building into the fabric of the campus. Exterior wood panels reflect the naturalized landscape and respond to the campus’ ecological context.