Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership have come up with a stunning new plan to expand and transform the Ryerson University Library in Toronto
Snøhetta has excelled once again with their latest project, the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, part of a plan to develop the city of Toronto and Ryerson University. The project focuses on collaborative spaces and dynamic learning environments, whilst also promoting a strong urban quality.
The building will face south onto a major shopping street and provides seating and space for shoppers and pedestrians. A series of steps and ramps leads toward the entrance below a tilted ceiling that directs sunlight down to the public spaces and entry. Additionally, along the commercial street, a new retail space will be created.
Inside the main entrance, a large atrium space provides informal seating and a late night study zone, together with a café. Stairs lead to the first levels of the learning zones and digital media activities. From there, a bridge spans an alleyway and connects to an existing, historical library building. Above this, several levels of unique learning areas accommodate the various needs of students and academics alike. Each level is different in its configuration and has differing aspects of technology to interact with. One floor, known as The Beach, is an open and informal study area that spans from wall to wall across several small terraces linked by ramps and gentle steps. At the top of the building, a sky terrace offers views over the city streets below.
The façade is made of a fritted glass skin with a dappled texture that filters ultraviolet light and creates a tranquil and inspirational area for reading and working. Larger panels at the entrance will have a ceramic-like skin that serves to reflect light to the street corner.
The design combines a lively and uplifting environment, with tranquillity and introspection, perfect for students and professors to collaborate, learn and share. The nature of libraries and learning will once again become transformative.