The University of Toronto St. George campus has proposed a new building downtown, to be located at 90 Queen’s Park Crescent.

According to U of T President Meric Gertler, the building is set to accommodate urban and cultural engagement as well as connect the academic and public facets of the university.       

The nine-storey building will be designed by world renowned architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the masterminds behind New York City’s Institute of Contemporary Art and High Line. It will also host several departments, including History, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Institute of Islamic Studies, the Archaeology Centre, and a branch of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies.

U of T’s Vice President Scott Mabury stated that, “it will be a building that brings a diverse group of folks together to advance knowledge around cities and how they can work successfully, contributing to a positive impact here in the city but also more globally.”

In terms of public space, the building is designed to incorporate a recital hall with a window that displays the magnificent view of the Toronto skyline, and will host 400 seats with a skyline view. There will also be space allotted to the Royal Ontario Museum.

According to U of T’s chief of university planning, design and construction Gilbert Delgado, the building will be highly interactive with the urban setting, academics, and the public, and “it [will represent] an important new addition to the cultural corridor with the Gardiner Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Faculty of Law and Queen’s Park”.

Keeping U of T’s culture and heritage in mind, the building will include Falconer Hall, a part of the university’s Faculty of Law, into its design. Delgado said that this inclusion is a “novel and creative way of having a historic building influence a new building,” since the Falconer Hall has been a part of U of T for the past 118 years.

Abiding by U of T’s sustainability commitments, the building will follow the standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, which will result in a 40 per cent reduction in energy usage.

The tentative construction of the building is slated to begin in June 2020.