U of T’s Gerstein Reading Room wins architectural award
April 6, 2010
TORONTO, ON – The University of Toronto’s Gerstein Reading Room is among 15 winners of the 2010 design excellence awards. The awards, presented by the Ontario Association of Architects on May 7, 2010, honour the best in Ontario architectural design, innovation, and business.
“We are thrilled to be given this award,” said Sandra Langlands, Director of the Gerstein Library. “It has been nice to restore the room to a reading room, because it had been a reference room for years and it seemed such a shame. The renovations have allowed us to show off the heritage end of the building again.”
Dating back to 1892, the Gerstein Reading Room, housed in the Gerstein Science Information Centre, was renovated and renewed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects. The restoration was part of a three-stage, multi-year undertaking that included a library addition, renovations to the main entrance and information commons and the Morrison Pavilion study wing.
While working on the Gerstein Reading Room, architects discovered an attic that enclosed a soaring ceiling, hand-carved trusses, rafters and a dramatic glass skylight that had been concealed since the early twentieth century behind a dropped ceiling. They restored the ornate, neo-Gothic style woodwork and repaired sections of the dramatic 14-metre high ceiling. The university also replaced the skylight and added a new slate roof.
The reading room now includes study space for 100 with new lighting, furniture and shelving. It also offers new graduate and group study space on the second floor of the Heritage Wing.
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