Azure Magazine: Everyone Loves Snøhetta

“…If they deny their participation in the starchitecture wave, that doesn’t mean they’re not stars in the eyes of many. In 2009, the firm won the inter­national competition to design Ryerson University’s Student Learning Centre, located on a tight lot in Toronto 1,920 square metres in size, and hemmed in by shops and restaurants along a busy street. Early on, Dykers visited the proposed site, which was still occupied by the iconic Sam the Record Man store, and he noticed its appeal. “Even in the winter, that stretch of Yonge Street was populated at night with people playing chess under the neon lights of the Sam’s marquee,” he says. “With our roots in thenorthern hemisphere, we’re acutely aware of the importance of daylight, especially in cities.”

Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, Toronto, 2015 The stepped entrance doubles as a place to sit, and a way to connect the campus to its downtown location.
“Ryerson University Student Learning Centre, Toronto, 2015 The stepped entrance doubles as a place to sit, and a way to connect the campus to its downtown location.”

The 10-storey centre, open since March, has already left an impression on students and passersby. Its triple-glazed walls are dappled with a digitally printed white pattern baked onto an inner layer, to help control daylight levels; and each floor is accented with a distinctive colour scheme and spatial orientation, to create variation within what is basically a cube. On various floors, students have the option to study in quiet zones, in breakout areas, or within glassed-in study rooms with whiteboards painted on the walls – perfect for working out formulas or generating lists.”

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