Canadian Architect

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Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex

May 1, 2012
by Canadian Architect

PROJECT Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex, University of Toronto Mississauga, Ontario
ARCHITECT Kongats Architects
PHOTOS Shai Gil

The Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex (TDHSC) at the University of Toronto Mississauga accommodates teaching and research facilities for the new medical program to be based at the Mississauga campus. The campus has a history of forward-thinking design, and is composed of four buildings that have been recognized by a number of OAA Awards of Excellence: the Student Centre; the Communications, Culture and Technology Building; the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre; and the Recreation, Athletic and Wellness Centre. The TDHSC has been designed to uphold the tradition of design excellence that the campus currently enjoys.

The functional programming of the TDHSC supports three primary user groups: the new Mississauga Academy of Medicine, the Department of Biomedical Communications, and the Department of Anthropology and Forensics. Each of the three user groups has very distinct space, adjacency and identity requirements. A number of building massing configurations were initially explored, including a woven courtyard, an interior courtyard, and terraced gardens–to meet the program’s requirements. 

The TDHSC is situated on sloped terrain rising up from the outer campus Ring Road, and will landmark the entrance to the proposed Academic Quad. The shifting floor plates of the TDHSC accentuate the soft landscape to the east, south and west, while the building’s north face, in its vertical uniformity, will provide a formal façade to the Academic Quad. The faceted stainless steel façades capture both natural and ambient artificial light, ensuring its landmark presence is articulated 24/7.

The program at the TDHSC includes video conference-ready lecture theatres, classrooms, seminar rooms, faculty and administrative offices, and instructional laboratories. The facility will also house the Biomedical Communications program and five research laboratories. The innovative skin of glass and metal panels wrap a stacked series of boxes that step up the existing hill of the site. As the boxes enlarge and shrink to suit the requirements of the program they contain, roof gardens and overhangs will be created. These gardens, in turn, will serve to integrate the building with its site while providing the occupants of each floor with private and communal outdoor terraces.

In keeping with the University of Toronto’s mandate for sustainable building, the Health Sciences Complex has been designed for LEED Gold certification.

Jury: A large institutional building is articulated and humanized by skillful massing and the inventive treatment of the façade. A cladding system of shimmering metal fins animates the stacked-box arrangement of volumes, and gives the building a distinctive set-piece quality amidst its campus neighbours. Interiors are luminous and civilized with ample natural light, and the sliding stacked volumes create terraces for encounter and engagement. The quality of detailing is exceptional and the sophisticated use of materials lifts the building into a class of its own. CA

Client University of Toronto
Architect Team Alar Kongats, Danielle Lam-Kulczak, Philip Toms, David Sasaki, Sukie Leung, Alessia Soppelsa, Dieter Janssen, Andrea Ling, Tyler Walker, Derek McCallum, Eric Van Ziffle
Structural Halsall Associates Limited
Mechanical/Electrical Crossey Engineering Ltd.
Laboratory Watson MacEwen Teramura Associates
Landscape Corban and Goode
Civil MGM Consulting Inc.
Audio-Visual Engineering Harmonics
Code Randal Brown & Associates Ltd.
Cost A.W. Hooker
Commissioning HFM
Building Envelope Brook Van Dalen & Associates Limited
Project Manager PMX Inc. (for the University of Toronto)
Contractor Harbridge + Cross Limited
Area 6,000 m2
Budget $25 M
Completion Fall 2011




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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