Explore UTSC’s story of intriguing architecture at Doors Open Toronto
May 21, 2010 8:00am
On May 29 from 10 am to 5 pm, the
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) will showcase its campus as
part of the 11th annual Doors Open Toronto. The
popular citywide celebration offers community members an opportunity
to explore the architectural history of UTSC on self-guided tours
through the campus. Everyone is welcome and the event is free.
A lot has changed since 1966 when UTSC first opened its doors. What
was once a one-building campus, UTSC now comprises twelve full-sized
academic buildings, with the thirteenth set to open in March 2011. As
the geographical footprint of the campus has increased, so too has the
number of students, necessitating continued growth and development.
UTSC’s early history
UTSC was founded with the creation of the Andrews
Building (called the Science and Humanities
Designed by renowned Australian architect John
Andrews (who also designed the CN Tower),
the building spans a full kilometre across the rim of the valley, and
is a testament to the uncompromising and distinctive qualities of a
brutalist design. Its bold concrete structure is complemented by the
lush surrounding greenery and the building is still recognized the
world-over as the pre-eminent example of a modernist
Inside, the angular, tiered construction of the Science and Humanities
Wings creates wide street-like walkways with balconies that run the
building’s length. Converging at the Meeting
Place, sunlight floods through a mesh-like concrete ceiling
down onto UTSC’s town square below. From this central gathering
area, the Science Wing’s many vista windows offer wide views of
the campus greenspaces.
The 2000’s: A Force of Change
Up until the early 2000’s, UTSC’s main campus remained
largely unchanged, except for the openings of the Recreation
Centre in 1972 and the Bladen Building in
1973. However, with the student population predicted to double in the
first decade of the 2000’s, university planners crafted an
exciting new campus vision for the 21st century.
For those who have not visited the campus in years, UTSC’s
physical growth since 2001 can only be described as remarkable.
UTSC’s 21st century expansion began with the 2003 opening of the
Academic Resource Centre (ARC), designed by
architects Brian MacKay-Lyons with Rounthwaite Dick
The ARC is UTSC’s new library and was built with a copper finish
which will slowly tarnish from metallic browns to the traditional
rustic green. Designed as a response to the architectural forms of the
original Andrews Building, the ARC is a simple but impressive
structure which set the tone for new buildings to follow.
Sitting across from the ARC and Humanities Wing is the
Management Building, which opened in 2004, and was
designed by Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg
Architects. The Management Building’s extensive glazing
creates a light, modest exterior, in strong contrast to the massive
qualities of the ARC and Humanities Wing. Meanwhile the interior
atrium, composed of grand cherry wood, continues the internal
pedestrian street theme of the Andrews Building.
Also opening in 2004 was the Doris McCarthy Gallery
(DMG), situated between the Bladen Wing and the ARC. Built as
a contemporary gallery, and as a repository of artwork by UTSC alumnus
and renowned Canadian artist Doris McCarthy, the DMG acts as a
terminal feature for the upper interior ‘street’ that
connects with the ARC.
Heading back towards Military Trail is the Student Centre, which
opened in 2004, and was designed by Stantec Architecture
(formerly Dunlop Architects). The L.E.E.D.-certified Student
Centre was a project initiated and funded by students, and was built
using 18-tons of recycled steel from the Royal Ontario Museum
renovation as part of a sustainable development program.
With an award-winning architectural design, the Student Centre
provides UTSC students with a much-needed facility for clubs and food
services, while also serving as a public transportation hub. Crafted
in titanium, its distinctly-shaped butterfly roof establishes a clear
main entrance to the campus and features a basement multi-use
restaurant called Rex’s Den.
Created at the same time as the Student Centre was
the Arts and Administration Building (AA), which opened in Fall 2005,
and was designed by Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc.
The AA Building serves as an unambiguous entrance to the school,
jutting out in front of the drop-off loop, with its soft-yellow brick
warmly welcoming students.
In October 2008, the Science Wing was extended with the opening of the
three-story Science Research Building, and was
designed by Moriyama & Teshima Architects,
providing a vibrant, collaborative space for interdisciplinary
teaching and research in physical, environmental and life sciences.
Exciting Future Growth
The 2000’s saw an unprecedented expansion at UTSC. Given the
opening of the Instructional
Centre in early 2011, and the enormous new
aquatics and athletics centre currently under design to be
constructed for the 2015 Pan American Games, the next
decade is set to continue that trend with the emergence of
UTSC’s northern campus.
For those with an interest in architecture, and for those graduates
who might not have been on campus for a while, UTSC welcomes you to
tour the campus on May 29 for Doors Open Toronto.
For further information visit the UTSC Campus
Tour website and select ‘Campus
Overview’ to begin an online exploration of
UTSC’s buildings. Click
here for a video slideshow of UTSC’s historic timeline and
the story of the campus’s growth. For more information about
Doors Open, please click here.
Robert Onley is a 2009 political science graduate from UTSC. He is
currently studying law at the University of Windsor.