University of Toronto Innis College Addition and Renovation

Montgomery Sisam Architects

The Innis College Renewal and Expansion project looks to remedy the College’s current space crisis with an infill addition. The three-storey, 38,000-sf. addition features a library, lounge, café and food servery, classrooms, faculty offices, casual study spaces, and a new auditorium crush space. It extends out from the heritage-listed double-house that forms part of the original academic building to frame the westernmost third of the site. The design carries forward the original building’s sensitivity to the house-form and the Victorian-era neighborhood in both its scale and material expression. New circulation routes are seamlessly integrated with those of the existing structures, remediating accessibility issues and improving student flow within, around, and through the buildings. The quantity of green space on site has been retained, in part by the newly defined courtyard and in part by the new rooftop terrace. The heart of the College, lost in the transformation of the once porous amphitheater into an enclosed cinema screening room, has been revived in the courtyard. Transparency at grade allows the courtyard to feed into and off of the new student-centered spaces at grade. Despite being removed from the street, both the addition and courtyard help activate the campus thanks to an opportune gap in the urban fabric and a new mid-block connection to the main thoroughfare. The addition targets 40% better than the industry standard ASHREA benchmark. It also builds on the College’s wellness ambitions by privileging daylight, fresh air, good acoustics, access to the outdoor and opportunities for physical movement.