Canadian Architect

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Award of Excellence: Phase VII Student Residence, University of Toronto at Mississauga

Mississauga, Ontario: Baird Sampson Neuert Architects Inc. Maintaining the site's ecological conditions are among the strategies used in what the architects called "TranSiting" or "building with the environment."

December 1, 2002
by Canadian Architect

Two “ecological zones” were designated in the Master Plan for the University of Toronto at Mississauga campus, in order to preserve mature planting located within them. The landscaping for this new residence accommodates both the plan and recent alterations to the UTM Theatre, creating a gateway courtyard at the north end of the campus. The large landscaped terrace will terminate a walkway as it emerges from the colonnade and provide an area for outdoor activity adjacent to the cafeteria in the North Building. Refuge for birds and plants is provided with the retention of the wooded areas, and pathways to the residence are situated around the edges of the ecological zones and on existing routes wherever possible. A boardwalk has been introduced where an existing pathway crosses through the environmentally-protected area in order to connect with central residence facilities.

The former wetland conditions upon which communities depended has been restored. The source water had been diverted some years ago to a piped storm-water sewer but through an on-site approach to storm-water management rainwater diverted from rooftop areas via landscaped swales is now utilized to restore the former wetland condition and sustain plant species.

The building is expected to be eligible for funding under the Natural Resources Canada’s Commercial Building Incentive Program, proactive strategies are used to reduce energy and mechanical systems’ demands. Thermal efficiency is maximized with concrete structure and envelope and private and collective areas benefit from extensive glazing that is used as spectrally selective and responsive to the different exterior orientations of the building. Drafts are mitigated with the use of a mylar interlayer. Estimated annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is 134,591 kg, a contribution to Canada’s Kyoto commitments.

All corridor, bedroom and living spaces are fitted with operable windows. Cast-in-place concrete structure is clad with clay brick masonry and aluminum glazing. Bedroom windows are ganged together but separated at party walls by projecting precast concrete fins. Materiality is heightened in the colonnade with constrasting strata of limestone and butted glass as well as juxtaposed light and dark colours. Other wall surfaces include interior brick and painted gypsum wallboard. White maple is used for millwork, and interior door frames and glazed screens are slim line hollow metal. A tan coloured quarry tile is used in kitchens and bathrooms. To maximize the residence’s amenity, and respect a tight budget, small areas of rich interior finishes are alternated with more common place elements.

Erickson: This project’s major strengths lie in its exploration of the potential of, on the one hand, its wooded green site and, on the other, its simultaneous recognition of the urbanity of its campus orientation.

Fisher: This dormitory beautifully expresses the dual nature of learning as something both collective and individual by providing layers of public and private spaces, with common rooms along the ground floor colonnade, congregating areas where the upper corridors widen, shared living rooms in each suite, and private bedrooms. The dorm also relates well to the dual nature of its site, with a horizontal expression on one side, echoing the movement along the campus walk, and vertical bands of windows on the other side, reflecting the height of the adjacent forest. It is a very civil and civilizing building.

MacDonald: This project beautifully exploits its site condition to enhance the quality of the university experience on many levels. The covered walkway element upon which it is structured connects the north and south ends of the campus, transforming the existing suburban ring road university experience into one more integrated with the character and quality of its found landscape. The building serves as a transition element, controlling both view and physical access to the wetland amenity. The implied social structure creates a legible hierarchy of public and private spaces and is grounded in the site condition. The building section also responds to the site, creating a composition of five-storey blocks along the west forested edge, and a more linear four-storey faade to the east along the walkway. The architecture of this project is engaging and ambitious for its budget. My sense is that it will be successful primarily by virtue of its anchorage in and exploitation of the natural attributes of the site.

Client: University of Toronto

Architect team: Barry Sampson (co-director), Jon Neuert (co-director), George Baird, Colin Ripley (project co-ordinator), Seth Atkins, Jennifer Barker, Adam Blakeley, Yves Bonnardeaux, Jed Braithwaite, Mauro Carreno, Ian Douglas, Anne Lok, John Peterson, Olga Puschkar, Ali Saneinjad, Geoff Thn, Jos Uribe-Pabon

Structural: Yolles Partnership

Mechanical/Electrical: Crossey Engineering Ltd.

Landscape: Janet Rosenberg Landscape Architects

Sustainability: Dr. Ted Kesik

Project Manager: Stantec Consulting Inc.

Budget: $10.8 million

Completion: July 2003




Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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