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Environmental Science and Chemistry Building, University of Toronto Scarborough

15 Mar 2018
Image Credit: Michael Muraz
Architectural Credit: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated
Location: Toronto, ON
Architects: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated
Date of Completion: 2015

OAA Design Excellence Awards Finalist

The University of Toronto Scarborough sought to combine two academic disciplines under one roof, using design solutions for a new laboratory that will foster collaboration between students, research staff and faculty. The architects also provided sustainability solutions for a building type (i.e. laboratory) not normally associated with ‘green’ achievements, which were part of the mandate in the design brief of the university.

Site plan
Drawing Credit:Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated 

The resulting effect of sun and shade moving across the undulating façade is to animate the building with patterns likened to the look of wind patterns on water or in the sand.
Photo Credit: Tom Arban

The envelope features a mixture of cladding systems including high performance curtainwall, unique bird friendly fritted glazing and punched windows.
Drawing and Photo Credit: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated

The moiré effect of the façade’s solar fins not only mitigates the intensity and glare of the sun, but also evokes a connection to nature’s patterns in wind or water on sand. Six stainless steel intake shafts draw fresh air underground where it is pre-treated to heat and cool before entering the mechanical system. One of the earth tubes is translucent below the entrance vestibule—an information kiosk explains the technology as part of the required integrated learning component. 

Photo Credit: Tom Arban

Interior atrium 
Drawing Credit: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated
Photo Credit: Tom Arban

Connected laboratories and academic offices around a skylit forum and crossroads are designed to encourage collaboration and exchange facilitated by gathering spaces
Drawing Credit: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated
Photo Credit: Tom Arban
The project is a showpiece for integrating the requirements of a modern, sustainable and dynamic post-secondary academic campus plan. A visual connection is made between the labs and exterior support of academic pursuit while strengthening the public realm. Laboratories line the perimeter; glass fume hoods and partitions bring natural light deep into the core and allow connected sightlines between adjacent labs. The building brings a new approach to laboratory design—open, transparent, adaptable and flexible while providing a safe work environment. 

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