Media Releases

U of T celebrates the opening of One Spadina Crescent

November 17, 2017

Toron­to, ON – Today, the John H. Daniels Fac­ul­ty of Archi­tec­ture, Land­scape, and Design cel­e­brat­ed the offi­cial open­ing of its new home — the Daniels Build­ing — at his­toric One Spad­i­na Cres­cent.

Locat­ed on the west­ern edge of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s St. George cam­pus just north of Col­lege Street, the icon­ic neo-goth­ic build­ing and stun­ning con­tem­po­rary addi­tion, cur­rent­ly near­ing com­ple­tion, is now poised to become an inter­na­tion­al focal point for edu­ca­tion, research, and out­reach on archi­tec­ture, art, and the future of cities.

Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor Mer­ic Gertler; Dean of the Daniels Fac­ul­ty, Pro­fes­sor Richard Som­mer; and Chair of the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, Claire Kennedy wel­comed donors, alum­ni, fac­ul­ty, stu­dents, and oth­er esteemed guests to com­mem­o­rate the Daniels Faculty’s new home — which the Globe and Mail’s archi­tec­ture crit­ic has called “one of the best build­ings in Cana­da of the past decade” — with an offi­cial rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mo­ny and recep­tion.

Refer­ring to Cana­di­an and inter­na­tion­al reviews of the build­ing, Pres­i­dent Gertler said, “This glob­al stand­ing ova­tion for the Daniels Build­ing is con­tribut­ing to U of T’s rep­u­ta­tion as a world-lead­ing cen­tre for the study of archi­tec­ture, land­scape archi­tec­ture, and design; as one of the world’s great­est uni­ver­si­ties, and as a city-build­ing insti­tu­tion of the first rank. And it her­alds a new era of local, nation­al, and inter­na­tion­al impact on the part of our pro­fes­sors and stu­dents, whose work is already help­ing to re-define urban­ism in the 21st Cen­tu­ry.”

The pro­ceed­ings took place in the heart of the new build­ing in the Faculty’s new Prin­ci­pal Hall, a pris­mat­ic, poly­chrome, mul­ti-dimen­sion­al space, soon to become one of Toronto’s pre­mier pub­lic venues for pub­lic dis­cus­sion and events show­cas­ing lead­ers in the fields of art, urban­ism, and the built envi­ron­ment.

In addi­tion to hous­ing the Faculty’s expand­ed under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate pro­grams in archi­tec­ture, visu­al stud­ies, land­scape archi­tec­ture, and urban design, the new Daniels Build­ing will allow for enhanced inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research and greater pub­lic out­reach and engage­ment, ele­vat­ing the role that the design arts and visu­al think­ing can play in address­ing the crit­i­cal chal­lenges of our time.

“Toron­to, like many cities around the world, has to con­tend with unprece­dent­ed growth. How we devel­op a com­pelling set of visions for the future, stage bet­ter dis­cus­sions and debate about how to grow, and mod­el ways for a diverse set of actors to work togeth­er to real­ize these visions, is vital to the suc­cess of our city, and every city” says Pro­fes­sor Som­mer. “Over its 127 –year his­to­ry, our Fac­ul­ty has made many cre­ative and intel­lec­tu­al con­tri­bu­tions to this city and the pro­fes­sion, but the school has nev­er real­ly had a home wor­thy of its ambi­tions. Thanks to our com­mu­ni­ty of gen­er­ous sup­port­ers, we now have a major plat­form.“

Fol­low­ing the announce­ment of a his­toric $14 mil­lion bene­fac­tion in 2008 (the largest of its kind in Cana­da to a school of archi­tec­ture) and anoth­er $10 mil­lion in 2013, John H. Daniels (BArch 1950, LLD Hon. 2011) and Myr­na Daniels today wit­nessed the vision for U of T’s archi­tec­ture and design stu­dents become a real­i­ty. The new Daniels Build­ing is named in their hon­our.

Toron­to archi­tec­ture firms, devel­op­ment and busi­ness lead­ers, fac­ul­ty, friends, and alum­ni have also come togeth­er to sup­port the project through phil­an­thropic gifts total­ing more than $30 mil­lion. To date 85% of the fundrais­ing goal has been met. With a num­ber of nam­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties still avail­able, the Fac­ul­ty plans to announce addi­tion­al gifts from donors in the com­ing months. The project is part of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s unprece­dent­ed 2.4 bil­lion Bound­less cam­paign.

Key spaces in the Daniels Build­ing include the Grad­u­ate Design Stu­dio, with a col­umn-free span of over 34 metres that incor­po­rates an undu­lat­ing ceil­ing with 11 cleresto­ry win­dows; the Eber­hard Zei­dler Library, with col­lec­tions in archi­tec­ture, land­scape archi­tec­ture, art, and urban design that are unri­valled in Toron­to; an exten­sive work­shop and dou­ble-height Fab­ri­ca­tion Lab, and the Com­mons, an inte­ri­or “main street” and gath­er­ing space that runs east-west through the cen­ter of the build­ing, link­ing “town and gown.”

The Daniels Faculty’s award-win­ning Green Roof Inno­va­tion Test­ing Lab­o­ra­to­ry (GRIT Lab) whose work helps inform the City of Toronto’s green roof stan­dards, will open a sec­ond site on the roof of One Spad­i­na, where it will study the inte­gra­tion of rain­wa­ter har­vest­ed on site, while a new 8,000-square-foot Archi­tec­ture and Design Gallery — the only exhi­bi­tion space devot­ed exclu­sive­ly to archi­tec­ture and design in Ontario — will be com­plete by next year.

Designed by Nad­er Tehrani and Kather­ine Faulkn­er, prin­ci­pals of the inter­na­tion­al­ly acclaimed firm NADAAA, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Archi­tect-of-Record Adam­son & Asso­ciates, land­scape archi­tects Pub­lic Work, and her­itage archi­tects ERA — the build­ing has already received broad crit­i­cal acclaim. For­mer Direc­tor of Urban Design and Archi­tec­ture for the City of Toron­to Ken Green­berg (BArch 1970) declared it “a remark­able feat of form-mak­ing, site plan­ning, and city build­ing,” in a recent review of the build­ing in Cana­di­an Archi­tect. Dur­ing Doors Open, the new Daniels Build­ing was among the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions in Toron­to, wel­com­ing over 8,000 vis­i­tors.

“A hinge between ideas and action, Archi­tec­ture is as much a way of find­ing the world, as it is of form­ing it,” says Pro­fes­sor Som­mer. “As we cel­e­brate the open­ing of this spec­tac­u­lar new build­ing — we are remind­ed about what bet­ter archi­tec­ture, land­scapes, and cities writ large should afford soci­ety. It is not just about the glass, steel, and con­crete, but what we can and will do with these things — what more thought­ful and beau­ti­ful envi­ron­ments inspire. We have received a great gift in this new site and build­ing, but this is just the start. “

The main phas­es of the One Spad­i­na Project will be com­plet­ed in 2018. Future phases/additions are planned. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it the Daniels Faculty’s web­site.