The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto | The Plan
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The John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto

An Intelligently Aesthetic Architecture

NADAAA

To design a school of architecture is an enticing albeit formidable prospect for any thinking architect. In the United States alone, there is the legacy of Mies van der Rohe at IIT, Paul Rudolph at Yale, and John Andrews at Harvard. These buildings from several decades ago were signature, standalone monuments to professional bravura and to the respective institutions. Three or four decades later, out in Los Angeles, SCI-Arc pursued a different, radically less expensive path, colonizing warehouses or factories first in Santa Monica, then in Playa Vista, and now in LA’s rapidly urbanizing Downtown. Echoing mid-century notions of the Museum as Temple and this more recent appropriation of industrial space for artistic production and display, these dueling typologies of the architectural academy find a synthesis in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. There, a grand Gothic Revival building - an isolated urban icon with many gables and embellishments - has been extended in line with the cardinal axes marking the site. Whereas this older edifice contains many small individual rooms, the new structure is essentially one contiguous studio instigating, on this rather tight lot, that modern dream of multifunctional, open floorplan. The University of Toronto occupies an extensive campus close to the center of that business-like and busily densifying city. In recent years, the university has commissioned buildings from Morphosis (USA), Saucier + Perrotte (Canada), Foster Associates (UK), Behnisch Architekten (Germany), and Patkau Architects (Canada), an impressive list for any third level institution. Won through competition, the architecture school was awarded to NADAAA, the Boston-based practice led by Nader Tehrani, formerly one half of Office dA, and Katherine Faulkner. NADAAA is making a name for itself with architecture schools, having recently completed facilities for Georgia Tech in Atlanta and for the...

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