diller scofidio + renfro plans new university of toronto building with an 'eroded' façade

diller scofidio + renfro plans new university of toronto building with an 'eroded' façade

in 2016, diller scofidio + renfro won a competition to design a new educational building for the university of toronto. now, three years later, the first images of the proposal have been revealed. titled ’90 queen’s park’, the building intends to serve as an urban and cultural hub, bringing together nine previously dispersed departments — including the school of history, music, law, near and middle eastern civilizations, islamic studies, jewish studies, and a home for the new school of cities — into a single building.

diller scofidio renfro toronto university
the ‘eroded’ façade isshaped by an imprint of the historic falconer hall
image by bloomimages, courtesy of diller scofidio + renfro (also main image)



to develop the project, diller scofidio + renfro is working with toronto-based firm architectsAlliance, while ERA architects is the team’s heritage consultant. conceived as a cultural and intellectual gateway between the university of toronto and the city, the building is positioned at the intersection of bloor street and queens park, adjacent to falconer hall — an historic building from the 1900s. consequently, the south façade of ’90 queen’s park’ reveals the individuality of each department with an ‘eroded’ façade shaped by an imprint of falconer hall.

diller scofidio renfro toronto university
inside the building’s atrium stair
image by bloomimages, courtesy of diller scofidio + renfro



meanwhile, a smooth cohesive block of program containing faculty offices and workspaces is found to the north. internally, a café is positioned at ground level with a multi-storey atrium linking clusters of lounge spaces, study areas, and meeting rooms. on the upper floors, the music recital hall features a large window that provides south-facing views of the toronto skyline. meanwhile, above the hall, a 400-seat event space offers similar city views.

diller scofidio renfro toronto university
the music recital hall, with its large window as a dramatic backdrop
image by bloomimages, courtesy of diller scofidio + renfro



as part of the university’s commitment to sustainability, the building will adhere to the american society of heating, refrigerating and air-conditioning engineers’ (ASHRAE) sustainability standards. ‘it will use roughly 40 per cent less energy than a conventional building of this type,’ says gilbert delgado, U of T’s chief of university planning, design and construction. ‘the dominant issue right now in terms of sustainability is minimizing the carbon footprint of our buildings and our facilities.’

diller scofidio renfro toronto university
the project will break ground in 2020
image by bloomimages, courtesy of diller scofidio + renfro



the new building will be constructed on the site of the mclaughlin planetarium, which was closed in 1995. the university’s department of astronomy and astrophysics has included a new planetarium theater in its plans for a proposed building at 50 st. george street. ’90 queen’s park’ is scheduled to break ground in 2020.

diller scofidio renfro toronto university
a site plan for the building, which is located on the west side of queen’s park
image © diller scofidio + renfro



project info:


architect: diller scofidio + renfro
client: university of toronto
size (GSF): 170,000 sqm
location: toronto, canada
competition: 2016
groundbreaking: 2020


executive architect: architectsAlliance
heritage architect: ERA architects
civil engineering: cole engineering
structural engineers, building envelope: entuitive
landscape: NAK design strategies
traffic: BA consulting group ltd.
theatre consultants: theatre consultants collaborative
acoustics: aercoustics
building code / life safety: jensen hughes
planning: bousfields
sustainability: footprint
vertical transportation: soberman engineering
AV: novita techne
cost consultant: turner & townsend
lighting, IT/ telecommunication, mechanical & electrical engineers: smith + andersen
construction logistics: stuart olson
signage & wayfinding: entro communications

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    492,664 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample