Today sees the ground breaking for the new Leslie Dan Building for the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto Foster and Partners first building project in Canada. The new building will provide state-of-the-art facilities for more than 1000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, creating the largest pharmacy faculty in Canada.
The multi-functional building responds to the expansion of the pharmacy department and to recent changes in the teaching of the subject and centralises all teaching, research and administrative spaces within a single structure, many of which were previously spread throughout the university campus.
The buildings design responds in a sensitive manner to its context. The building is lifted above a 20m-high, five-storey, colonnaded circulation space, which matches the cornice heights of two neighbouring listed university buildings and the nearby Ontario Parliament Building. This daylit space is the hub of undergraduate activities, providing quick and easy access between the basement lecture theatres and the laboratories and the library. Two silver-coloured pods are suspended within the space. The larger of the two houses a 60-seat lecture theatre and a reading room. The other houses a smaller classroom and the faculty lounge. Wet labs for postgraduate research are housed on the upper floors of the building. An atrium slot runs throughout the building providing visual connections between all floors.
David Nelson, the partner in charge of the project said, "We are delighted to be involved in this challenging new building for the University of Toronto, building upon the experience we have gained at Imperial College in London and Stanford University in California. This is a very exciting project our first in Canada and we have enjoyed working with the Faculty staff and our Canadian architectural partners Moffat Kinoshita Architects."