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: 170,000 GSF (gross square feet)
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