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125th anniversary of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto


May 22, 2015
by Canadian Architect

One hundered and twenty five years ago, in 1890, the University of Toronto became the first school in Canada to establish an architecture program—the origin of U of T’s current programs in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and visual art. Together with the University’s programs in Visual Studies, these disciplines form the basis of the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

“Over the years, the Daniels Faculty has leveraged its location in the heart of Toronto to bring together the city’s leading practitioners with internationally recognized designers, scholars, historians, theorists, and technologists to advance research and education,” says Professor Richard Sommer, who joined the Faculty as Dean in 2009 after 10 years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. “Our school has always fostered creative, multidisciplinary innovation, and I am extremely proud of the impact that our students, professors and alumni have had in Toronto and beyond.”

The anniversary comes at a time when the Daniels Faculty is about to embark on a new chapter: next year it will move to a new home at One Spadina Crescent, where construction is now happening at a fast pace. The renewal of this iconic site represents the largest architecture school expansion ever undertaken in Canada.

“After more than a decade of transformation of our faculty and programs, and a landmark benefaction from John and Myrna Daniels, we are entering a new phase,” says Sommer. “With One Spadina, our goal is to create an architecture, city-building, and arts district at the University of Toronto, and put design and visually based thinking at U of T on par with traditional mathematics and text-based modes of scholarship.” 

The Daniels Faculty has always had strong connections to the life and character of Canada’s largest city. With its international population, changing urban fabric and dynamic professional community, Toronto has been both a laboratory and object of study for its professors and students who, in turn, have played important roles in its development. Daniels Faculty students, faculty, and alumni have literally shaped the city.  

Sugar Beach, Regent Park, Integral House, the Toronto Reference Library, Canada’s National Ballet School, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, the West Toronto Railpath — these are just some of the communities, buildings, and parks designed by Daniels Faculty professors and alumni. Faculty and student research — on topics such as tower renewal, green roofs, 3D printing, visualization and immersive design — has also played a significant role in the city, and internationally.

“Our incredibly rich history has left us with a strong base from which we can continue to push boundaries in research, design, and education,” says Sommer. “From the moment I arrived, I sensed that we had a unique opportunity to think big, and have the Daniels Faculty play a key role at the intersection of the city and one of the greatest universities in the world.” 

The Daniels Faculty has invited its alumni to attend a series of dialogues throughout the day on May 30 at its current home at 230 College Street, followed by a reception at the Royal Ontario Museum. 

An exhibition chronicling the history of the Faculty will run from May 30 to mid-September in the Eric Arthur Gallery at 230 College Street. 

Alumni from all programs are invited to join the Daniels Faculty in celebrating this milestone on Saturday, May 30, 2015 throughout the day at 230 College Street and in the evening at a cocktail reception at the Royal Ontario Museum. If you are an alumnus or alumna who would like to receive the official invitation providing full details, please update your address and e-mail or call Misha Rahardja at 416.978.4340.

For more information, please visit https://www.daniels.utoronto.ca/events/event/2015-05-30/125th-anniversary


in 1970, architecture students constructed a buckminster fuller-inspired geodesic dome in the third floor courtyard of 230 college street.
in 1970, architecture students constructed a buckminster fuller-inspired geodesic dome in the third floor courtyard of 230 college street.