Student Learning Centre

Designed by Snøhetta in Toronto, with facades composed of a digitally-printed fritted glass that envelops the rugged armature and pared-down aesthetic of the exposed concrete structure, the Student Learning Centre is a building that demands to be engaged with.

Snøhetta, Ryerson University’s new Student Learning Centre, Toronto, Canada
With the fall semester in full swing, Ryerson University students are making good use of the newest building on campus: the Student Learning Centre (SLC), designed by Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects.

Inspired by the historical gathering spaces of the Stoas and Agoras in ancient Greece where learning was inherently social, the lively SLC gives students eight uniquely-designed floors of generous space to meet, study, and exchange ideas.

Conceived as a library without books, the design develops natural conditions for groups of people to interact while also offering areas for controlled and introspective study. Most importantly, it encourages students to make the space their own.

The SLC is a library built for the digital age that encourages students to interact with their physical environment.

Snøhetta, Ryerson University’s new Student Learning Centre, Toronto, Canada
Snøhetta, Ryerson University’s new Student Learning Centre, Toronto, Canada

The new Student Learning Centre now provides a much-needed space for students to study and remain on campus between classes, creates a distinguishable identity for the University, and better connects the campus to the vibrant cityscape surrounding it. The design begins with a south-facing raised platform that opens the street corner for a broad range of pedestrian activity, from larger gatherings to smaller individual seating areas. Part plaza, part porch, this elevated space creates a welcoming yet protected urban edge shared by students and the general public that both exhibits University life while giving students a place to view the city. Situated on the Yonge Street retail corridor, one of Canada’s best-known commercial avenues, the new building prominently displays shops along Yonge Street, maintaining the retail presence locals expect in the district. Yet by directing the flow of students over and up the entry stairs it ensures the flow of students in and out of the building remains uninterrupted by commercial activity.

A new campus gateway is shaped by a large canopy clad in iridescent, hand-folded metal panels stretching from the exterior façade into the lobby. Its striking color and unusual form makes passerby stop and look up. These small and unexpected physical movements added to our daily routine shift one’s relationship to and awareness of place, intensifying the connection between body and design.

Ryerson University’s new Student Learning Centre, Toronto, Canada
Program: library
Architects: Snøhetta
Executive Architect: Zeidler Partnership Architects
Client: Ryerson University
Structural: Halcrow Yolles
Civil: RV Anderson Ltd.
MEP: Crossey Engineering Ltd.
Executive Landscape Architects: Ferris Associates
Lighting: Consullux Lighting Consultants
Acoustics: Aercoustics Engineering Ltd.
Audio/Visual: Novita Techne
Cost Estimator: Marshall & Murray Inc.
Code: LRI Engineering Inc.
Hardware: Upper Canada Hardware Inc.
Signage & Wayfinding: Entro
General Contractor: EllisDon
Area: 14,200 sqm
Completion: 2015

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