Student Learning Centre, Ryerson University

Toronto, Ontario

Design Thinking: This new campus gateway building marks Ryerson’s presence on Yonge Street and provides students with an outstanding environment in which to study, collaborate and discover. The eight-storey Student Learning Centre features a glass façade, an elevated plaza, a bridge to the existing library, and a variety of engaging learning spaces. Every floor has its own personality – some are open and interpretive with flexible furniture and terraces, while others contain space for independent, quiet study, and enclosed study rooms for groups. With full digital support and accessible academic services, the Student Learning Centre fosters learning success and helps promote a culture of collaboration and creativity among Ryerson Students.

As Executive Architects, we worked closely with Snøhetta to provide a seamless delivery of architectural services from schematic design through to completion. The team implemented an integrated design process, emphasizing clear communication and an inclusive approach. We worked closely with the City of Toronto, key stakeholders, facilities management, our consultants, and user groups to ensure that the design intent and project goals were translated successfully into built form.

Key Features: The Yonge Street frontage features destination retail at grade creating a prominent commercial façade, and an entrance to Ryerson’s School of Performance below grade, also a Zeidler design. Staggered seating is woven into the entrance stairs and outdoor plaza encouraging informal social gathering and a place to rest from the bustle of Yonge Street. The landmark iridescent metal canopy shelters the south-facing raised platform that opens the street corner to a broad range of pedestrian activity. Part plaza, part porch, this elevated space creates a welcoming yet protected urban edge heavily used by students and the general public. The space exhibits university life while giving students a place to view the city.

As a demonstration of Ryerson’s long-time leadership in sustainability, the building is LEED® certified to the Gold level with at least 50-percent of the roof as a dedicated green roof. The lightweight and transparent glass skin features a surface design that creates varying light qualities within the interior space.

Design Architect: Snøhetta
Executive Architect: Zeidler
Client: Ryerson University
Size: 155,000 sq.ft. (14,000 sq.m.)
Sustainability: LEED Gold
• Toronto Urban Design Awards – Best Public Building in Context, 2017
• American Concrete Institute Awards – Decorative Concrete, 2017
• Ontario Library Association New Library Building Award, 2016
• American Institute of Architects/ American Library Association Building Award, 2016
• Illuminating Engineering Society Section Awards – Interior Design and Energy – Toronto Section, 2016
• American Institute of Architects New York Design Awards – Architecture, Honor Award, 2016
• Ontario Concrete Award – Material Development and Innovation, 2015
• Façade of the Year – International Award for Façade Engineering Excellence, 2015
• Canadian Architect – Award of Excellence, 2011