In a geopolitically charged world, the University of Toronto faced the challenge of accommodating spiritual pluralism within the framework of its secular mandate, while also creating opportunities for inter-faith dialogue and study. 13 years in the making, the design of the Multi-Faith Centre emerged as the solution to the burgeoning diversity and interest in the intersection of faith, spirituality and university life.
The architectural expression of light is the central feature of the space, made possible by translucent white onyx backlit walls and ceiling.
The uniquely versatile venue allows people of all faiths to feel equally welcome and equally valued. The design paradox was to create ‘faith-neutral’ spaces with a design aesthetic that is universally perceived as a sanctuary and retreat for all — simultaneously creating innovative elements that allow all faith groups to transform the spaces quickly, so as to suit their particular needs.
University of Toronto
OAA Design Excellence Award
OAA People’s Choice Award
Design Exchange Interior Design Award
Illumination Engineering Society (IES), Illumination Design Award—Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
“The architects at Moriyama and Teshima not only embraced our vision for the creation of a space that was at once universal while offering the requisite accommodation to the particular, they facilitated the fashioning of a centre that has come to be the gold standard in spiritual activity space in post-secondary education in North America.”
—Nouman Ashraf, former Director, Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, University of Toronto
“At one level, this is a modest gesture. At another level, it is an enormous gesture. This project is evidence of something we’ve always hoped to be true; that great architecture can change the world.”
—John Ota, “Open Faith,” Canadian Architect, September 2007
“The design by Moriyama & Teshima proves that architecture can inspire civility and understanding between people, no matter their faith…Religion may often divide, but the centre gathers and affirms.”
—Lisa Rochon, “Room For All Faiths,” Globe and Mail, March 17, 2007