Toronto Metropolitan University’s Centre for Urban Innovation is a facility where science and industry come together to create real world applications for urgent urban issues. The project preserves the original heritage structure while inserting two new, interconnected buildings, three and five storeys in height. These purpose-built spaces will allow for zones dedicated to wet and dry lab research as well as research fabrication, incubation and commercialization. Collaborative spaces support researchers and innovators with strong industry links to alternative energy, water management, food production, body metrics and human health, data analytics and urban infrastructure.
Reflecting the Centre’s spirit of efficiency, clarity, and exchange, a central four-storey sky-lit atrium encloses and bridges the original heritage building to the new addition. Each tier of the new volume features floor-to-ceiling glazing, allowing dynamic views into its lab spaces from every angle. Stepped seating on the north side of the atrium not only connects users to the second level, but also serves as an active space for gathering, studying and industry presentations.
Active areas for each department are highlighted through the use of vibrant blue accents; from seat cushions and flexible soft seating modules in the main atrium space, to laboratory safety flooring, through to informal collaboration areas located on each floor. Blue metal archways spanning floor-to-ceiling were also created to help signify the transition between the heritage building and the new additions and act as a wayfinding feature at each of these critical points.
MTA went to extraordinary lengths to carve out a considerable chunk of workable space for TMU’s Chemistry and Biology Department within a highly restricted footprint. Labs and research areas were customized in collaboration with DIALOG to be as experimentally attractive and as scientifically rigorous as possible. The result is a facility that successfully brings a new level of research excellence to Toronto Metropolitan University and has become an interdisciplinary hub where ideas and collaborative research will thrive for both faculty and students.