York University's plan to add space at its Keele campus for the School of Continuing Studies took a step forward this week, as the institution's Board of Governors approved a $50.5 million design/build budget for a new building. This approval follows a design competition for the facility with three teams shortlisted; HOK, Gow Hastings Architects with Henning Larsen, and Perkins + Will. Along with the funding approval announcement, a press release issued yesterday—accompanied by the firm's early design concept for the building—announced that Perkins+Will has been selected to design the project.

York University School of Continuing Studies, Perkins+Will, TorontoInitial design concept for the York University School of Continuing Studies, image courtesy of Perkins+Will

Early concept plans call for an approximately 9,000 m² building with a striking, faceted exterior, located at the intersection of The Pond Road and James Gillies Street. Inside, students and faculty would find 39 classrooms, student lounges, social spaces, private work areas, "breakout" spaces, and space to accommodate a total of 150 staff and instructors.

York University School of Continuing Studies, Perkins+Will, TorontoInitial design concept for the York University School of Continuing Studies, image courtesy of Perkins+Will

Teams participating in the design competition were asked to examine options to integrate the building into the campus' existing community, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. Other factors firms were the use of structural cross-laminated timbers, natural light, renewable energy, and a minimum target of LEED Gold certification with the possibility of achieving a net-zero standard.

“The creation of a new, stand-alone home for our School of Continuing Studies is another important step forward in improving access to post-secondary education at York,” reads a statement issued by York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton. “This new building will enable us to create even more lifelong learning opportunities, build connections with local and international communities, and help students of all ages and backgrounds to achieve their fullest potential.”

York University intends to break ground on the project next year, with an aim to move classes from the existing building scattered across campus into the new building in 2021.

Additional information and images can be found in our Database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.