The Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U), is embarking upon an expansion and renovation of some of their main buildings on McCaul Street south of Dundas in Downtown Toronto. The plans were revealed midday today in the Great Hall at OCAD U's main building on 100 McCaul, which will itself form a centerpiece of the ambitious $60 million project.

Sara Diamond announces expansion plans to a crowd at OCAD University, TorontoDr. Sara Diamond announces expansion plans to a crowd at OCAD University, image by Craig White

Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD U led off the announcement, followed by local MPP Han Dong and by the Hon. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. It was Moridi who reminded the crowd of moves in the recent provincial budget that will make university and college tuition free for students from low income families, and who then announced the government's intention to bankroll $27 million worth of the OCAD U's expansion and renovation needs. Diamond characterized the institution as a commuter school in dire need for more and better equipped spaces for its burgeoning student body to learn and work in. While nearly 95,000 square feet of existing space will be upgraded, 55,000 new square feet will be added. The complete plan, dubbed the Creative City Campus Project, is projected to cost about $60 million. Diamond stated that about $15 million of that is still to be raised as part of its Ignite Imagination campaign.

Sara Diamond, Reza Moridi, and Han Dong stand with a rendering of 100 McCaulSara Diamond, Reza Moridi, and Han Dong stand with a rendering of OCAD U's expanded 100 McCaul, image by Craig White

Improvements to several of OCAD U's spaces are in the works, including its original 1920s building, the George Reid House, which faces into Grange Park immediately east of the Boulton family's Grange mansion. Meanwhile, the lauded Will Alsop-designed Sharp Centre for Design—also known as the tabletop building—will have its classroom interiors converted for more studio based learning, while the centrepiece of the project will be 100 McCaul Street, the institution's low-slung red brick main building. Studios, classrooms, and lecture theatres throughout the building will be rebuilt for our more technologically advanced times, while an expansion over the parking lot between it and the AGO will allow for a reshuffling of the space. New spaces within the building will be dedicated to student commons space to be called the Grange Park Room, while OCAD U's new Inidgenous Visual Creative Centre (INVC), a program aimed at supporting and training the indigenous art community, will move into specially designed space in 100 McCaul as well.

Concept design for OCAD University's 100 McCaul by Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsConcept design for OCAD University's 100 McCaul building by Diamond Schmitt Architects

Moridi stressed that the expansion of the university's facilities would not only be beneficial for the institution and the students, but that it would be a boon to the city as well, transforming McCaul Street with standout architecture. While a detailed design of 100 McCaul is still to come, concept plans by Diamond Schmitt Architects include an impressive wall of thermally active glass over the 1950's building's east frontage. An RFP to bring that building to fruition will be issued in the coming months, with the intention to have it ready for the 2020/2021 student year. In the meantime, work is to start in the next two months on transforming OCAD U's Rosalie Sharp Pavilion on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul Streets into a landmark its own right. The acclaimed design by Bortolotto Architect, revealed last year, will replace the existing drab exterior with "billowing" perforated metal screens, while revolutionizing its interiors.

Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, redesigned by Bortolotto for OCAD University, TorontoRosalie Sharp Pavilion, redesigned by Bortolotto for OCAD University

Want to know more? UrbanToronto's dataBase files for 100 McCaul and the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, linked below, contain more renderings and information.