Behnisch Architekten and architects Alliance in Toronto | The Plan
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Behnisch Architekten and architects Alliance in Toronto

ArchitectsAlliance | Behnisch Architekten

The University of Toronto has in recent years commissioned buildings from some very distinguished architects. Saucier + Perrotte from Montreal and Morphosis from Los Angeles have each constructed student dormitories on Spadina Avenue. The downtown campus is bordered to the west by this important thoroughfare through the city; to the east by Queen’s Park, with the High Victorian Legislative Assembly of Ontario; to the north by Bloor Street West; and to the south by College Street. At the fulcrum of this rectangle, and protected by university buildings from the city beyond, University College, the most emblematic building, commands the northern rim of a central, almost secret mall known as Front Campus.

On Bloor Street West, a third dormitory-Woodsworth College Residence - has recently been completed by architectsAlliance, a local practice that has realised several elegant condominium and university projects in the greater Toronto area. On top of a 4-storey podium, a 13-storey tower is clad in transparent and opalescent white panels arranged in a simple checkerboard pattern; each student suite has a corner living room with spectacular view of the campus and city. A small court at ground level has a biomorphic island of vegetation.

On College Street, the university’s southern boundary, and close to the Legislative Assembly, Foster and Partners from London have built the Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building. It’s a rather stolid, cubic tower raised on stilts above a 5-storey glazed hall in which two room-sized ovoids are suspended. To the west is a group of traditional-looking buildings from the early twentieth century. In the middle of these, recessed from the busy street, is the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR), designed in collaboration between architectsAlliance and the esteemed Stuttgart practice, Behnisch Architekten.

The Canadian/German collaboration rises from an elegantly...

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