Architect: NADAAA with Adamson Associates Architects and ERA Architects

Owner: The University of Toronto/ The Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Project site: Historic structure or district

Building program type(s): Education – College/University (campus-level)

The renovation and expansion of One Spadina Crescent for the University of Toronto’s John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design (DFALD) embodies a holistic approach to sustainable design. The project focused on the context of the city and dynamic use patterns over time as opposed to focusing exclusively on static accreditation frameworks. The project strove to distinguish itself in utilization efficiency, energy/water/material efficiency, properly insulated building fabric, indoor environmental quality, landscape, and urbanity. Most important, the project anticipated the dynamic nature of design education and technology through its flexibility and resilience. The project objectives were twofold: (1) rehabilitate the landscape, historic Knox College architecture, and urban significance of Spadina Crescent (2) demonstrate DFALD’s objective of overt sustainability through the deployment of materials and systems to accommodate a program for studio space, workshops, classrooms, offices, a library, a cafe, a gallery, an auditorium, a Living Lab, a Fab Lab, a public amphitheater, and an event terrace. Design strategies were multifaceted to address environmental, economic, and social values. One example of this is the new, dynamic ceiling on the third floor of the new addition. Using the cantilevered structural logic of the Firth of Forth Bridge, the ceiling of the studio is shaped to integrate daylighting, hydrological control, and structural optimization, creating a desirable space that engages the senses while simultaneously saving energy and water and serving as a pedagogical tool. For years, many initiatives have attempted to preserve, reuse, and repurpose One Spadina Crescent. This project has revived the site and offers a north face for the first time in its history. The preservation of the north addition will have value in how it establishes a dialogue with the urban and campus context and serves as a critical piece of infrastructure for the city of Toronto.

"This well-conceived renovation and addition are “in place”  with the well-integrated daylight and water collector systems." -Jury statement

Additional information

Project attributes

Year of design completion: 2017

Year of substantial project completion: 2017

Gross conditioned floor area:  155,000 sq ft

Gross unconditioned floor area: 0 sq ft

Number of stories: 4

Project Climate Zone: ASHRAE - Zone 6

Annual hours of operation: 8,200

Site area: 123,150 sq ft

Project site context/setting: urban

Cost of construction, excluding furnishing: $51,963,900

Number of residents, occupants, visitors: 10,000

Project Team

Acoustics:  Aercoustics Engineering Ltd.

Architect - Executive: Adamson Associates Architects

Building envelope consultant:  Entuitive Corporation

Construction Manager: Eastern Construction Company Ltd

Electrical/Data/AV/Lighting design:  Mulvey Banani International, Inc.

Engineer - Civil: A. M. Candaras Associates, Inc.

Engineer - Civil: Entuitive Corporation

Engineer - MEP: The Mitchell Partnership

Hardware: Upper Canada Specialty Hardware, Ltd.

Heritage Consultant: ERA

Landscape: Public Work

Select furniture design and construction: Daniels Faculty


Nancy Clanton, Clanton & Associates

Paul Mankins, FAIA, Substance Architecture

Christiana Moss, AIA, Studio Ma

Christoph Reinhart, MIT

Allison Williams, FAIA, AGWms_studio

Image credits

COTE Daniels1

Nic Lehoux

COTE Daniels2

Nic Lehoux

COTE Daniels3

Nic Lehoux

COTE Daniels4

Nic Lehoux

COTE Daniels5

Bob Gundu