It is almost half-century since the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library was completed at Harbord and St. George. Designed by Mathers and Haldenby, it is considered a landmark example of Brutalist architecture and is one of the city’s most polarizing buildings. Now, an expansion is underway on west side of the building that will add a five-storey, glass-enclosed addition to be known Robarts Common. The addition will provide space for 1,200 badly needed new work and study carrels and tables for students.

Robarts Library, Robarts Common, Diamond Schmitt, University of TorontoRobarts Common, image via University of Toronto

Work on the Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed addition kicked off with a ground breaking ceremony in Summer 2017, and has been quietly progressing ever since. By the end of 2017, construction hoarding was in place and preparatory work was well underway, including clearing of the site footprint and construction of temporary structures. Most recently, photos of the site show that installation has begun for the 4,304 m² addition's structural steel skeleton.

Robarts Library, Robarts Common, Diamond Schmitt, University of TorontoWork underway on Robarts Library expansion, image by Forum contributor ProjectEnd

Steel erection is being conducted in two phases by general contractor Harbridge + Cross Limited, with work now underway on the north half of the addition, to take one month before work begins on the second phase of steel erection to the south. While the expansion will be connected to the library by bridges on floors two, three, four and five, the new structure will actually be free-standing and structurally independent of the existing building.

Robarts Library, Robarts Common, Diamond Schmitt, University of TorontoWork underway on Robarts Library expansion, image by Forum contributor ProjectEnd

The completed addition will increase Robarts Library's capacity to 6,000 seats across study spaces open 24/7 during peak times in the academic year. Originally intended to be complete in time for the Fall 2019 semester, an updated timeline shows that the project is now anticipated to wrap up construction in 2020.

Robarts Library, Robarts Common, Diamond Schmitt, University of TorontoWork underway on Robarts Library expansion, image by Forum contributor ProjectEnd

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.

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