June 2013

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courtesy VICTORIA UNIVERSITY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO Goldring Student Centre – Victoria University by Jessica Kirby the Wymilwood student union building at Victoria University in the University of Toronto has undergone extensive renovations. The building has also added 40,000 square feet of architecturally beautiful and sustainable space for student enjoyment. The build consisted of a complete renovation of the existing student centre and a 2,875-square-metre addition, as well as an exterior quadrangle that improved the functionality and esthetic of the site. The historically-listed Wymilwood Building, constructed in 1952, is a rare example of a building designed by notable architect Eric Arthur, who taught at the University of Toronto until 1966. Carol Phillips, architect with Moriyama & Teshima Architects says the new component was designed to encompass the client's vision – a sensitive addition focused on creating good T location 150 Charles Street West, Toronto, Ontario Owner/Developer Victoria University in the University of Toronto Project/Construction Manager O.P. McCarthy & Associates Inc. Architect/Landscape Architect Moriyama & Teshima Architects General Contractor Kenaidan Contracting Ltd. Structural Consultant Halcrow Yolles Mechanical/ Electrical Consultant Lam & Associates Ltd. Total project area 6,282 square metres Total Construction Cost $23 million 90/    june 2013 p90-91Goldring Student.indd 90 spaces for students – and address the building's tight, urban context while preserving its handsome heritage esthetic. "Victoria University is distinguished by fantastic buildings surrounding generous green spaces," says Phillips. "Our site was compromised by an asphalt driveway that cut off the student residences from the student centre. Along with integrating a distinguished building with sustainable design features into this part of the campus, the owners were excited by the creation of a new quadrangle that connects the student residences to the north with the new building." The building's exterior esthetic flows with the adjacent buildings' architecture using consistent materials including Algonquin limestone, curtainwall, and wood finishes. The ground level supports student life by surrounding generous curtainwall glazing with an integrated planter and bench system that encourages student interaction with the building and adjacent green space. The design team drew inspiration from the ivy-covered buildings surrounding the site and added a new twist – a series of stainless steel rods in front of the glazing where vines grow up to provide shade in the warmer seasons and light in the winter time. Ray deSouza, bursar and CAO at Victoria University, says the primary vision was to ensure the building reflected the same level of quality and excellence represented in the institution's academic programs. "We wanted our student centre to create an atmosphere where students and faculty would be able to continue their academic discussions in a more relaxed and social environment," he says. "At the same time we wanted to ensure that the building enhanced our campus north of Charles Street by bridging our traditional architecture with a modern building in a seamless way, while contributing to the vibrant academic and cultural community that shares our boundaries." The quad is an essential element of the building's overall vision. It replaces a driveway that brought heavy traffic to the space and physically restricted access between the new Goldring Student Centre and the other buildings on the site. Phil Silverstein, project manager with Moriyama & Teshima Architects, says the existing driveway was not pedestrian-friendly and was consistently filled with idling cars. "It was not a friendly place, yet it was the main student space," he says. "By shifting and relocating the driveway to the east, we opened it up to the back so the only traffic is the odd vehicle in the northwest corner." The quad space uses a combination of permeable paving and solid surfacing to create a European-inspired plaza that is surrounded by ramps to facilitate access. The interior palette was selected carefully, with dark wood tones that complement the rich colouring in the existing palette of fresh white walls with deep wood accents. Limestone was integrated on the interior of the building to create continuity with the external appearance. The interior also features a number of distinguished heritage pieces including a main spiral staircase that had to be preserved during demolition – a key challenge for general contractor Kenaidan Contracting Ltd. Brett Latham, project manager for Kenaidan Contracting, says the demolition crew successfully cleared out the existing structure, while preserving the staircase, a copper fireplace, some terrazzo flooring through the main entry and several heritage doors and windows. "Protection of heritage features, removal of asbestos and demolition of the existing building in the initial stages was critical to the project's success," says Latham. "We put a great deal of planning, extra protection and care into this effort." The addition has a concrete substructure with staircase and elevator concrete core and the remainder is structural steel. The floorplates are a composite structure constructed of corrugated steel with a concrete topping. A major issue was connecting the two buildings – the renovation has walkthroughs into the existing building, so it was important to ensure the concrete and steel lined up without damaging the existing building, says Latham. "The existing fire route and active residence in the middle of the construction site was a major challenge in project planning," he says. "It presented a number of safety concerns to plan for, manage and control, along the logistics of a fully utilized downtown project site." The construction team also had to construct an architecturally-exposed cantilevered steel staircase around the elevator core. "We had to monitor levels to ensure that the stairs stayed in place as we were loading them with the final architectural finishes," says Latham. A buried stormwater retention cistern mitigates the amount of water released into the municipal system, taking the pressure off a system that is subject to flooding and heavy rain. "By retaining the water for irrigation we are using water that is usually just shed off," says Phillips. "This system holds the water on site for reuse and releases it into the drainage system at a slower space." Sustainability features were an important facet of the building's design, particularly because this is a priority for the students who use it. "We worked with the client to understand how we could introduce sustainability measures that resonate with the students and the best way to send that message," says Phillips. "Given the choice to add an inch of insulation or add green roofs, we chose the green roofs because it sends a visual message." The building features an innovative solution to heating, cooling and electricity, avoiding the construction of a mechanical or electrical room. It uses an extensive tunnel system already in place to tap into excess steam produced by the University of Toronto, excess chilled water from the nearby Royal Ontario Museum, and hydro overflow from an adjacent building on site. Although the project was impacted financially and in terms of timing by regulatory approvals, construction delays, and by a prolonged strike at City Hall, says deSouza, it received its first occupants on April 22, 2013. "We are delighted with the building and are proud owners of what will clearly be a landmark in the City of Toronto," he says. "We believe that our student community will have the very best facility, not only within the city, but provincially and nationally as well." n Goldring Student Centre – Victoria University 13-05-30 2:42 PM

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