One Spadina Crescent will be transformed into University of Toronto’s new John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. The project’s goal is to repurpose the heritage building, located in the middle of a busy traffic circle. The building was built in 1875 by the Presbyterian Church, originally functioning as University of Toronto’s theological college.
An international competition was organized to secure a design team to take on the project. A University of Toronto board selected the winners. Nadar Tehrani, architect and founder of NADAA, was selected to take on the project, along with Toronto consultants from Public Work (landscape design) and ERA Architects (preservation architects).
The revitalization of the iconic Spadina building will consist of renewing and preserving the 19th century, Gothic architecture, while also implementing contemporary architectural elements. This includes a 100,000 sq ft building addition made of glass, stone and steel. The addition will contain new collaborative studio spaces, an advanced fabrication lab, a principle hall for major public events and a public gallery.
According to Professor Richard Sommer, the Dean of the Daniels Faculty, the project will transform the University’s western edge of the campus between College and Bloor. This area of campus was threatened by a city plan to turn Spadina into an expressway. Now that the plan has been denied years ago, the University can give the area a needed upgrade. An example of how the project will improve the area is by providing a new east-west walkway that will extend the adjacent Russell street through the new Daniels building. Since One Spadina is surrounded by a busy traffic circle, the new walkway will provide an integral pedestrian link across the site.
The project will be partly funded by a fundraising campaign initiated by the Daniels Faculty that raised $45 million. Among the donations received during the campaign, the faculty received a $10 million personal contribution from John H. Daniels himself. This donation was in addition to the $14 million gift, given by John and Myrna Daniels, that initiated the plan for expansion of the Faculty in 2008. The Daniels’ contributions, totaling to $24 million, are the largest gifts designated to architecture programs in Canadian history.
Professor David Naylor at the University of Toronto describes John and Myrna Daniels as “outstanding community builders