July 21, 2014
by Canadian Architect
Bortolotto Architect has been selected to renovate the Ontario College of Art and Design University’s (OCAD U) building at the corner of Dundas and McCaul Streets in Toronto. The renovation of the 1,514-square-metre facility has a total construction budget of $4.5 million. The project will begin this summer with an anticipated completion date of September 2015.
Building on their experience designing postsecondary student centres, Bortolotto will repurpose the building from its current use as the University’s corporate head office into a flexible, student-centric facility that reinforces OCAD U’s unique position as Canada’s “university of the imagination.” The proposed raw industrial minimalist interiors will include studios along with interactive meeting and event spaces to support experiential learning and to highlight student work. The renovation will also include a retrofit of the existing mechanical and electrical systems with specific attention to environmental concerns.
Bortolotto will redesign the exterior façades facing both Dundas and McCaul Streets to better engage with the surrounding streetscape, specifically OCAD U’s Sharp Centre for Design by Will Alsop and the Art Gallery of Ontario by Frank Gehry. The proposed design will integrate OCAD U’s brand and creative identity, establishing the building as a gateway to the campus corridor that continues south along McCaul Street. By increasing the transparency on the street level, Bortolotto’s design will facilitate greater conversation between the cross-disciplinary and collaborative practices taking place inside the building, and Toronto’s dynamic urban life unfolding on the street.
The two-stage call for expressions of interest attracted 22 submissions from architectural firms across Canada. The Bortolotto proposal was selected from a shortlist of seven firms invited for a second interview stage of the competiton.
“We are very excited and grateful to have been selected to design this high-profile project for such a creative and forward thinking University,” says President Tania Bortolotto.