Ryerson, Meet Your New Student Centre
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Ryerson, Meet Your New Student Centre

The most exciting building to appear in this neighbourhood in decades” or a “glass atrocity“?
Renderings of the design for Ryerson University’s new Student Learning Centre—which will be built where Sam the Record Man once stood—are out (leaked to the Star last night and officially released in a press conference a few minutes ago), and competing opinions are already flying around the pages of Toronto’s newspapers. Designed by Toronto’s Zeidler Partnership Architects in collaboration with Snøhetta (Oslo, Norway and New York City), the building will cost $112 million (the province is kicking in $45 million of that) and is scheduled for completion by the winter of 2014.
The glass-fronted, eight-storey centre will include study spaces, meeting rooms, and street-level retail, and will meet LEED silver certification standards. Fans are applauding the design’s transparency, sense of openness, and light, and especially its attempt to be an open window for students onto the city, and for the city into Ryerson. Detractors, meanwhile, are lambasting the building for lacking any sense of context or history.
The building, in at least one sense, is a very natural fit for Ryerson: in its reliance on primarily open areas, suited for group meetings and chance conversations, it’s a turn to a more “modern” understanding of what a study space should be. This morning’s press release trumpeted that sense of collaboration and connection: “The notion that learning is a static, solitary activity is outmoded,” we are told. Whether Ryerson students find themselves agreeing is a fascinating question.
Renderings courtesy of Ryerson University.

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