This week marked the opening of York University's updated Osgoode Hall Law School after a much-needed facelift by Toronto firm Diamond Schmitt Architects. Located at York's Keele Street campus, the 43-year-old building was in need of new administrative and study space, as well as an updated aesthetic to reflect the growing prestige of Canada's largest law school.
The 1960s-era historically listed building was designed in the brutalist style and, while a noteworthy example of the concrete-heavy architectural style, it lacked natural light and flexible spaces. Diamond and Schmitt re-organized the building around a central light-filled atrium with re-designed lounges, a new cafeteria and a spruced-up galleria that connects various spaces within the building.
In addition to updating the building, Diamond and Schmitt added new electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems to register for LEED Silver Certification. The school received financial support from the federal and provincial governments, and raised a whopping $32 million through fundraising and donations.
York University is not the only one sprucing up its law school's facilities. The University of Toronto is currently working on an addition to its law building located at Hoskin and Queen's Park Crescent, designed by Hariri Pontarini. The gradual rejuvenation of York's 1960s campus coincides with U of T's continued development on all three of its campuses, marking the growing competition between two of Canada's top universities in both academics and built form. We're looking forward to continued friendly-competition between these two campuses, and hope to see more great urban design coming from both U of T and York University.