Design of new Engineering building at the University of Toronto unveiled

The design for the University of Toronto’s new Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CEIE) was recently unveiled. The landmark CEIE is targeted for opening in late 2016 on the St. George Campus, adjacent to Convocation Hall.

As the conceptual plan shows, the building will move beyond the traditional lecture hall and classroom with unique collaborative learning and hands-on design spaces. These spaces will allow for a variety of configurations to promote dynamic group work as well as formal teacher-student presentations. The building also features dedicated space for alumni and industry partners to meet with students and collaborate with faculty while at U of T.

“It will, quite simply, provide the environment to nurture the innovator and the creator inside our students and prepare them to lead on a global level,” said Cristina Amon, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “The CEIE brings together the talents of the entire faculty and the broader university to create the next solutions in engineering. It provides the space, facilities and collaborative environment to encourage students, researchers, alumni and industry partners to work together to get great ideas off the ground.”

The schematic design from Montgomery Sisam Architects of Toronto and UK-based Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios includes the Lee & Margaret Lau Auditorium, a 500-seat interactive space meant to optimize audience engagement. The CEIE plans also incorporate smart building concepts, which integrates heating, cooling, electrical and communications systems into a single network, providing greater energy efficiency.

A $1-million commitment from the Engineering Society is earmarked for a unique space on the lower level where student club members can socialize, hold events and collaborate on group projects. The Society’s contribution demonstrates undergraduates’ recognition of the importance of this new student space.

“The building will encourage innovative collaboration by bringing together research and educational centres and institutes within a single building that address many of the emerging initiatives within the Faculty,” said Professor Emeritus Ron Venter (MIE), who leads the building’s planning committee.

“These include sustainable energy, infrastructure, water, robotics, design and advanced manufacturing, global engineering opportunities and leadership in technical and social innovation.”

U of T Engineering’s Entrepreneurship Hatchery, for example, will have a home in the new building. The Hatchery fosters undergraduates’ entrepreneurial ventures with the help of mentors, venture capitalists and other professionals.

The University of Toronto Institute for Sustainable Energy will also be housed at the CEIE. The Institute is an inclusive multidisciplinary initiative designed to bring together researchers, students, and teachers from across the university, together with partners from industry and government. Its goal is to increase energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of energy use and conversion.

“The building will help foster the best in entrepreneurial engineering,” said George Myhal (IndE 7T8), Chair of Engineering’s Campaign Executive Committee – whose $5-million gift was among the first in support of the building. “We will see many innovative and exciting solutions emerge from this building,” he added.

Donations announced on Oct. 29 at the design unveiling include significant gifts totalling over $10 million from the Engineering Society, Lee (ElecE 7T7, MEng 8T2) and Margaret Lau, and an anonymous donor. These donations build on the momentum of previously announced gifts from Bill (ChemE 6T7) and Kathleen Troost, whose donation will provide space for the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering (ILead); Peter (CivE 6T2) and Jocelyn Allen, and Paul Cadario (CivE 7T3), whose contribution to the Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) includes support for CGEN in CEIE. The U of T Engineering community has so far secured more than $50 million toward the building.

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