Architects selected by University of Toronto for James and Louise Temerty Building

Diamond Schmitt and MVRDV have been chosen to oversee the creation of the James and Louise Temerty Building.

Toronto, ON, Canada – January 08, 2021: View at University of Toronto sign in downtown Toronto. Founded in 1827 as King’s College, the University of Toronto, located around Queen’s Park, is ranked first academically among Canadian research universities.

Diamond Schmitt and MVRDV have been chosen by the University of Toronto’s architect selection committee to oversee the creation of the James and Louise Temerty Building, a new facility for the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. The committee conducted a global and competitive request-for-proposal process to select the design team for the building, which will replace the west wing of the Medical Sciences Building on King’s College Rd. The new building will be equipped with cutting-edge teaching and research amenities.

“We’re excited to work with a faculty utterly committed to excellence in training future generations of physicians, health professionals and researchers,” said Donald Schmitt, principal architect at Diamond Schmitt Architects. “It’s inspiring to contribute to spaces that will help lead to better health outcomes for people over time.”

The primary components of the project encompass areas dedicated to clinical education and collaborative interdisciplinary research. Diamond Schmitt refers to these spaces as the building’s “connective tissues,” emphasizing their significance in promoting interaction and idea-sharing among faculty members, learners, and staff.

“Places where people have spontaneous opportunities to connect can become the lifeblood of the community,” Schmitt said. “The juxtaposition where various people and programs are placed and the relationships between can really make magic in a building.”

The project was propelled forward with the aid of a $100-million contribution from James and Louise Temerty and the Temerty Foundation. This significant donation was announced alongside their transformative gift of $250 million, leading to the renaming of the Faculty in their honor in 2020.

“We are so grateful for the Temertys’ support of this vital building project,” said Trevor Young, dean of Temerty Medicine. “The new James and Louise Temerty Building will equip our Faculty to meet the evolving needs of learners and researchers well into the future. Ultimately, it will be an essential tool in realizing our ambitious vision for Temerty Medicine: to be an unparalleled force for new knowledge, better health and equity.”

The Medical Sciences Building currently accommodates approximately half of Temerty Medicine’s campus area and has not undergone significant renovations since its construction in 1969. Around two-thirds of the research space in the building dates back to its original construction.

An overarching objective is to guarantee that the new facility is inclusive and welcoming to all individuals. The team of architects will prioritize equity, diversity, accessibility, and inclusion throughout their work. Additionally, the design process will incorporate considerations of decolonization, with the expertise of Two Row Architect being instrumental in addressing this aspect.

“As part of the design conversation, we want to bring in an understanding of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing,” said David Dow, also a principal architect with Diamond Schmitt. “It will be important for us to open the lines of communication with Indigenous communities around the St. George campus to help inform how we think about how people orient themselves within the building and navigate this large and complex academic and research program.”

The design of the building will follow an integrated project delivery method, which involves all parties collaborating as a unified team. This approach ensures that every contributor works together from the outset, enabling effective cost control, eliminating redundant efforts, and proactively identifying challenges. Moreover, each stakeholder assumes shared risks and benefits associated with the project.

“This is an inclusive teamwork approach that promotes greater dialogue amongst the team members,” said Dow. “We will be working with Two Row Architect, and with an accessibility consultant called Level Playing Field as well as the engineers and trades, for example. All the parties will be present very early on and will have an equal voice at the table. This promotes a deeper consideration of the project goals, opportunities and constraints to realize a wonderful addition to the Faculty and the University campus.”

The project will be in accordance with U of T’s Climate Positive plan, which involves the development of a new district energy Nodal Plant. This facility will offer heating and cooling not only to the Temerty Building but also to neighboring structures. By generating 10 percent of its energy locally through renewable sources, the Temerty Building will contribute to the university’s objective of achieving climate positivity by 2050.

Groundbreaking for the project may take place as early as 2025 and will complement U of T’s Landmark Project, scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2023.

“There should be a seamless integration between the community and the University. It’s important to us that the landscape of the urban realm is part of our projects and that there’s no defined line between the community, the site and the building entrance,” said Vanessa Kassabian, director, MVRDV New York.

“The James and Louise Temerty Building will promote openness and transparency and encourage social gathering, circulation and connection within the building and between the University and the surrounding city,” said Nathalie de Vries, MVRDV’s founding partner. “Our priority is to create experiential spaces that inspire and stimulate cross-collaboration, support inclusivity, and promote advanced research.”

The James and Louise Temerty Building is expected to open in 2028.