Alison Brooks Architects selected for revitalization of University of Toronto Claude T. Bissell Building

Alison Brooks Architects has been selected to lead the revitalization of the Claude T. Bissell Building for the Faculty of Information in Toronto.

University of Toronto Bissell Building (Photo credit: Ken Jones, University of Toronto)

Alison Brooks Architects has announced that the University of Toronto has selected their practice, in collaboration with Executive Architects Adamson Associates, to revitalize the Claude T. Bissell Building for the Faculty of Information, a world-leading center of excellence for research and education in information studies.

The building, which was completed in 1973, is 7,000 square metres in size and one of three heritage buildings that form the John P. Robarts Research Library complex.

This landmark project will support the Faculty’s growth and overall mission to leverage technology for human good as well as to make knowledge, information platforms, and systems equitable and accessible to all.

The commission includes a comprehensive reimagining of the Bissell Building’s social, teaching, and research spaces to modernize the identity of the Faculty of Information and create a new front door to the St. George Campus.

Research and design labs, classrooms, and makerspaces—all of which will be newly accessible, inclusive spaces—will support the Faculty’s combined model of experiential, experimental, and empirical learning.

Aerial view of St. George campus looking South. (Photo credit: Ken Jones, University of Toronto)

“This revitalisation project represents a historic opportunity to work with a brilliant client to transform one of the University’s most memorable Brutalist icons into a place that fosters open collaboration, active learning and impactful research,” said Alison Brooks, founder of Alison Brooks Architects and creative director.

“We’re inspired by the Bissell Building’s considerable artistic legacy which we will enhance and honour with our work. We look forward to collaborating with the University, the Faculty and our wider consultant team to sensitively transform this significant piece of Toronto’s built history, to support the University’s Climate Positive Campus Plan and secure its architectural legacy for future generations.”

Javed Mostafa, Dean of the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto said, “As a fan of Brutalist architecture—be it the Bissell Building, where I now work, or the National Parliament Building in Bangladesh, the country where I was born—I am thrilled to have Alison Brooks in charge of this renovation. Under their architectural stewardship, I expect the new Bissell Building to emerge an even more welcoming human and social space that will foster engagement and create further connections to the city and our communities.”


Full Project team:

Alison Brooks Architects – Design Architect

Adamson Associates – Executive Architect

ARUP – Sustainability, Electrical, Mechanical, Structural, Envelope, Civils, Transport, Wind, Fire Protection

David T. Fortin Architect – Indigenous Architect

ERA Architect – Heritage Architect

The Planning Partnership – Landscape Architect

A.W. Hooker – Cost Consultant

HGC Engineering- Acoustics

ENTRO Communications – Wayfinding

Soberman Engineering – Vertical transportation

LMDG Consultants – Code & Accessibility

Upper Canada – Hardware