Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects just completed a metal-clad Student Learning Center (SLC) at Ryerson University in Toronto that provides eight unique floors inspired by different themes found in nature. The project aims to empower students and provide myriad informal spaces where they can interact and learn.
The new building, clad in iridescent, hand-folded metal panels, acts as a campus gateway and opens up to the street via a raised platform that is part public plaza, part porch. It is located on Yonge Street, a commercial avenue dominated by retail spaces. The ground floor houses a spacious atrium with informal seating areas, a cafe and a welcome desk. This space can be used for different purposes, ranging from lectures, performances, pep rallies and fashion shows.
The design of the upper floors was inspired by Greek Agoras and aims to replicate the social and cultural significance of these historic gathering places. In order to diversify the spatial qualities and uses, the architects referenced different themes found in nature. Different floors were designed to offer distinctive atmospheres and were named accordingly. The sixth floor in known as ‘The Beach’ and features a series of ramps, terraces and sloping informal study areas. Other floors, such as ‘The Garden’ and ‘The Sun,’ comprise a range of learning spaces, student services and traditional classrooms. The top floor, named ‘The Sky,’ offers broad views of the neighborhood and provides access to natural light.
Another interesting aspect of the design is its facade, which is composed of digitally-printed fritted glass placed over a rugged armature. The patterns vary and control heat gain, simultaneously framing views of the city and the neighboring buildings.
Photos via Snøhetta