News Flash: Business Students Get Flashy New Building


By: Odessa Kelebay

Sure, it looks good now. But remember, in a month from now at 3am, somebody’s gonna be pissing on these shiny new walls.

Sure, it looks good now. But remember, in a month from now at 3am, somebody’s gonna be pissing on these shiny new walls.

Fang Su

September 5, 2012 was the grand opening of the building expansion to the Rotman School of Management.

Located on St. George, just north of Harbord, the 161, 500 square foot addition cost $92 million. Construction was funded by contributions from the government and from generous independent donors including Sandra and Joseph Rotman and Marcel Desautels.

The building was designed by the Canadian architectural firm KPMB Architects. Over the years KPMB has fostered a comfortable relationship with the university, this project being their sixth building on campus. They have also designed other notable expansions in Toronto such as the Royal Conservatory of Music, Roy Thomson Hall and the Gardiner Museum.

Horizontally integrated into the existing Rotman building, which was constucted in 1995, the much-needed expansion provides seven new lecture spaces (including a 500-seat lecture hall and event space) and 790 full-size lockers for students, as well as 70 new group study spaces. The nine-story building also incorporates a 19th century heritage residence, which now functions as the hub for PhD programs at Rotman.

In the general press release the University of Toronto president David Naylor stated that the new building,“Will provide more of the best tools available to help ensure the success of our students. And this in turn, through their creativity and leadership as Rotman alumni, will help ensure the success of our society.”

The building earned a Silver LEED certification for its sustainable and environmentally conscious design. The use of glass allows for plenty of natural light and the building is crowned with accessible rooftop gardens. In addition, 35 per cent of the materials used in the construction of the addition were collected from local producers.

The subdued black glass of the exterior of the building contrasts with its open and bright interior. Inside, a large fuchsia staircase ascends through the atrium along dramatic lines and adds a slash of vibrancy to the interior core of the building. The hallways — finished with sturdy materials in a crisp industrial palate — are comfortably futuristic while the west-facing windows are sun-soaked and give high-value views of the city, allowing the space to feel open to creative and inspired outside influences.

The transparency, seriousness and rigor of the architecture effectively uses the built form to reflect the consistent standards of the business milieu the students seek to join.

With U of T’s business school one of the university’s fastest growing faculties, the expansion is both a functional and architectural success that should prove to be a center of innovative thinking for generations to come.

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