University of Toronto Scarborough learning hub to welcome nature indoors


Canadian firm ZAS Architects and Denmark-based CEBRA Architecture have unveiled the design for the Instructional Centre Phase 2 (IC-2), a new companion building at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Deigned as a “dynamic learning landscape,” the building eschews the traditional boxy arrangement of rooms for a more fluid layout that prioritizes flexibility and stacks learning spaces on top of each other. In addition to a large green roof that will top the fourth floor, the new five-story building will also feature sloped garden beds and an indoor landscaped courtyard.

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rendering of glass rectangular building lit from within at night

Proposed for a site currently used as a surface parking lot, the new institutional building will offer a variety of technology-enabled spaces, including 21 classrooms of varying sizes and configurations, from a 500-seat auditorium to smaller, 24-seat learning spaces. The project will also contain 124 faculty and staff offices, study spaces, lab rooms, meeting areas and multiple co-working spaces designed to encourage peer collaboration. The ground floor will be used as a social hub with a cafe and informal gathering spaces complete with soaring ceiling heights and an open floor plan.

Related: UK University unveils efficient, BREEAM-certified learning center

rendering of stair-stepped desks with several chairs in an auditorium
rendering of trees and vines growing in a courtyard

“We envisioned a truly flexible environment that broke down traditional pedagogies and instead, encouraged a fluid learning experience unconfined by the walls of the classroom,” said Paul Stevens, founder and senior principal at ZAS Architects. “Peer-to-peer learning is emulated in all aspects of the design.”

rendering of classroom auditorium with wood desks arranged in a semi-circle
rendering of open learning center with multiple floors

Fitted with a mix of translucent and fritted glazing, the contemporary building will be awash in natural light to promote student health and wellness while reducing the facility’s energy footprint. To further provide both mental and physical support to students, the design dedicates a state-of-the-art central floor to student health that will include counseling and mental health resources, a meditation room, a breastfeeding room, a physician and nurse office and academic advising and accessibility services.

+ ZAS Architects

Images via ZAS Architects





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