The University of Toronto (U of T), Ont., has unveiled plans for a 10-storey building to provide housing for more than 200 graduate students and expand living, social, and study spaces on its St. George campus.
With brick exterior and unique window cutouts, the Harbord Residence envisions a mix of dormitory-style and single-occupancy rooms. The proposed residence, which is yet to be considered by the university’s governing council, would also feature a bridge connecting it to the neighbouring Graduate House, with the two buildings sharing amenities including an event space, food court, lounges, and study rooms.
Anne Macdonald, U of T’s assistant vice-president of ancillary services, said the proposed building would be a welcome addition to campus since current demand for graduate student housing is more than double the number of available spaces.
The upper levels of the proposed building would consist of residential space and smaller lounge spaces for the exclusive use of residents of both Harbord Residence and Graduate House. The second and third floors would host common lounges, meeting spaces, residence life offices, and quiet study rooms. The ground floor would accommodate a food court and retail space, acting as the interface between the building and the surrounding Huron-Sussex neighbourhood.
“One of the things we wanted the architect to do for us was to have the ground plane be a more welcoming place for the broader community—for our neighbours and other U of T community members to come in,” said Macdonald.
The design of study spaces in the building would take into account students’ evolving learning habits, with an increased emphasis on rooms facilitating group work.
“We have found over the years that more and more students are doing work in groups, especially graduate and second-entry students, so there is a need for that. These spaces will be available and shared between Harbord Residence and Graduate House,” Macdonald said.
The proposal, anticipated to enter the university’s governance process in 2020, follows last year’s announcement of an agreement to build a 23-storey residence tower at the corner of Spadina and Sussex Avenues. That building, which will house over 500 students, is expected to be completed in 2021.