The students have been enjoying the building since before the start of the academic year, but as of last week, the Goldring Student Centre, an expansion and renovation of Wymilwood, the student union building at Victoria College at the University of Toronto, is now officially opened. UrbanToronto stopped by the event to get a look at what has changed for Vic students.

The Goldring Student Centre, image courtesy of Moriyama and Teshima ArchitectsThe Goldring Student Centre, image courtesy of Moriyama and Teshima Architects

It takes a lot of time, money, effort and will, to turn buildings from being merely renderings and plans, like above, into something that can be photographed, as below. On September 25th, alumni, staff, board members, and students of Victoria College were on hand to celebrate the result of years of effort to create a better experience for Vic students through the construction of a significantly expanded and renewed student centre.

Opening night at the Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoOpening night at the Goldring Student Centre, image by Craig White

On hand  to dedicate the building were many who played a significant role in bringing about the building now named in honour of Victoria graduates Blake Goldring and sister Judy Goldring, whose generous gift of $4 Million got the project rolling. After speeches, the Goldrings cut the ribbon, below, along with Prof. David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto; Jelena Savic, president of the Victoria University Students Advisory Council; Dr. Wendy M. Cecil, chancellor of Victoria University; and Prof. Paul W. Gooch, president of Victoria University.

Cutting the ribbon, Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoCutting the ribbon, image by Craig White

Vic students themselves committed $7 million to the project, while alumni contributed almost $9 million more of the total $23 Million budget. The addition doubles the space of the former Wymilwood student union building to 40,000 square feet. The "GSC" provides a welcoming space for socializing and learning beyond the classroom in which Vic students can thrive.

Interior vertical space, Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoInterior vertical space, image by Craig White

Work was not restricted to adding to one end of the existing Wymilwood building, but included extensive restoration work of the original building, and a new atrium on the north side of Wymilwood, helping to create better flow through the building. The new atrium was named after Vic's current chancellor, Wendy M. Cecil, who donated $1 Million to the project.

The Wendy Marion Cecil Atrium, Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoThe new Wendy Marion Cecil Atrium, image by Craig White

Toronto's Moriyama & Teshima Architects preserved many of the iconic heritage features of historically listed 1952-built Wymilwood within the new Goldring Student Centre. Wymilwood is a rare example of a building designed by Eric Arthur, a notable architect and former dean of architecture, who was one of the first to teach the Modern movement in Canada. Arthur is also known for his seminal book Toronto, No Mean City which encouraged a preservation movement in this city starting in the 1960s.  

 Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoThe restored Wymilwood Music Room, image by Craig White

While wood, brick, and concrete predominate in the Wymilwood sections, the new Goldring Student Centre build is marked more by glass and stone. The new sections do not mimic the old ones, but simple geometries and earth tones mean that the new does not clash with the old. The addition's exterior is mostly of polished stone with roughly textured inserts, while ivy, growing in planter boxes, is being trained up wires outside the main floor windows. The treatment is a distinctively modern update of the mostly neo-Gothic venacular of the wider university setting.

Stone details on the exterior, Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoStone details on the exterior, image by Craig White

The expanded facilities of the Goldring Student Centre now provides badly-needed space for student activity on the Vic campus. The rooms provide space for offices for student government and more than 20 student clubs, a renovated café, a two-storey lounge and assembly space. Commuter students will now enjoy locker space, making it easier for them to participate in extra-curricular activities, join a student club, socialize with friends, and engage in all the activities that make for a well-rounded student experience.

 Goldring Student Centre, University of TorontoThe exterior, facing the quadrangle, at night, image by Craig White

Before the building was expanded, current Vic student Nirusha Shanmuganathan explained "Student clubs and groups were spread out all over campus. Now that we are all sharing a space, we feel like a stronger community. We are forming a critical mass that is bound to increase student engagement.” Students are thrilled to be using the new space as it provides a real incentive to stay on campus to work and socialize.

If you would like to know more about Goldring Student Centre, click the linked dataBase file below, or click here to see many more images from the opening in our Projects & Construction Forum thread. Want to talk about the Goldring Student Centre? Leave a comment in the space provided on this page.