[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s OCAD University may boast another city landmark”
The Globe and Mail‘s Alex Bozikovic describes plans for an architecturally interesting expansion to Toronto’s OCAD University.
A decade ago, OCAD University changed Toronto’s streetscape with a box on stilts.
Now, the school may be about to do it again. OCAD announced Tuesday that its new “Creative City Campus,” a series of renovations and additions to its campus on McCaul Street, will be led by the Southern California architects Morphosis.
The project includes an addition to OCADU’s main building of about 55,000 square feet and a renovation of about 95,000 square feet. And with the engagement of Morphosis, led by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne, this building could redefine the university’s relationship with the city, and perhaps provide the city with a new architectural landmark.
The process hasn’t begun, but Monday, Mayne was clearly excited about the task at hand. “It’s a very interesting challenge,” he said. “We’re very interested in the education of art, the question of whether we can design an architecture that responds to that process.”
The effort includes a renovation and expansion of the university’s library, new studio and classroom spaces, a student commons and the construction of an Indigenous Visual Culture and Student Centre.
It is the biggest set of changes to the downtown campus since the school’s Sharp Centre for Design – the dramatic box-on-stilts designed by British architect Will Alsop – transformed the campus in 2004, becoming one of the most visible and highly publicized buildings in the city. And OCAD sits next to the Art Gallery of Ontario, whose redesign by Frank Gehry in 2008 made it another crucial piece of 21st-century architecture in the city.