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NADAAA, University of Toronto, Kanada

Learning at an exemplar: NADAAA’s faculty of architecture extension in Toronto

The Daniels Building stands on a circular plot of land with the urban traffic of the Canadian city swirling around it. NADAAA has not only carefully rehabilitated and revitalised the existing structure in the neo-Gothic style but also enlarged it with an expressive north wing. This is directly linked to the existing building, and at the interfaces of the two volumes enables pedestrian access in an eastern and western direction. A plaza to the east tethers the faculty of architecture to the university campus.  Footpaths, cycleways and a contoured topography enliven the outdoor areas at One Spadina Crescent.

NADAAA has designed the Daniels Building as a three-storey concrete volume structure clad in a steel and glass structure.  Sharply pitched corners and openings in walls and ceilings are to be found throughout the wing, making the building very jagged in impression, both inside and out. This effect ensures optimum daylight illumination and in combination with thermal concrete core activation and the green roof helps regulate building services.

The individual interior areas are arranged around a central hall, which can be darkened to serve as a large auditorium, or divided by adjustable partition walls to form up to three smaller halls. Dynamic seminar areas, study areas and social areas are accommodated in the periphery.   In providing the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design with varied interior spaces, NADAAA has created a pedagogical test object that seeks to encourage interaction and foster dialogue between the building, the students and the academic staff.

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