York University: Art Gallery of York University | ?m | 3s | York University | Hariri Pontarini

AlbertC

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Northern Light

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Nice enough project, should make a positive,if modest contribution to York U.

Overall the campus remains terrible; anchored by a mini-mall that sucks life away from the campus principle open space; a space which is also bland to the highest order.

Look at the open space in question (Streetview from 2017)

1606842146344.png


The vitality! Filled with energy, people, inspiration! What a great place.....to get bored....................

***

Unrelated section of campus....but exemplifies the design standards seen above:

1606842331603.png


The sidewalk approach from the left (north) is from Steeles/Pioneer Village Station.

When you arrive here, what path do you follow south into the campus? No trail, no sidewalk of any kind............

That campus is an unending disaster of 'how not to' (s)
 

Towered

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Nice enough project, should make a positive,if modest contribution to York U.

Overall the campus remains terrible; anchored by a mini-mall that sucks life away from the campus principle open space; a space which is also bland to the highest order.

Look at the open space in question (Streetview from 2017)

View attachment 286212

The vitality! Filled with energy, people, inspiration! What a great place.....to get bored....................

***

Unrelated section of campus....but exemplifies the design standards seen above:

View attachment 286213

The sidewalk approach from the left (north) is from Steeles/Pioneer Village Station.

When you arrive here, what path do you follow south into the campus? No trail, no sidewalk of any kind............

That campus is an unending disaster of 'how not to' (s)

Fully agreed - while it has improved over the decades, it remains a disaster. Don't get me started how it still looks inward instead of developing all the empty land along the major arterial roads with frequent transit routes that border it - Steeles, Jane and Keele. They need to take a page from what the big boys at U of T and Ryerson have been doing.
 

spaced

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It's great to see they're getting dedicated building. It's one of the better curated galleries in the city (even though it's on the far edge). Too bad the grounds are losing that cut through a parkette. When I went there (briefly) I used it often, and the cut throughs in general were one of my favorite parts of the campus. But overall it's an ok tradeoff.
 
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AlbertC

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I spent some time prior to the pandemic taking advantage of the new subway station and exploring the York University campus. In terms of overall inventory of buildings, I actually found it to be generally solid in terms of institutional architecture. The brutalist buildings were interesting IMO. The newer additions like Schulich, Lassonde engineering, and variety of other ones on the west side of campus I found to be quite nice. There's of course a handful of non-descript ones, but those can be found anywhere including U of T, Ryerson, Waterloo, etc.

I agree that the issue remains with the public realm among the campus. It has a very island among its own feeling, and continues to turn its back against the major streets that surround it.
 

spaced

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Have they stopped using the main road as a go bus station yet? When they were planning on moving them after the subway was completed, I thought it would make that main park much more inviting. Especially if they would do something like replace the road with cobble.
 

Northern Light

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I agree that the issue remains with the public realm among the campus. It has a very island among its own feeling, and continues to turn its back against the major streets that surround it.

It's that.........but it's also.........an actual lack of the most basic sidewalks/paths in some places where there literally is no designated or safe walking space connecting portions of the campus.

The principal open space really is a dud; it's not a place to hang out w/friends, eat lunch etc; part of that is the mall sucking away traffic, part of it is overly wide, busy'ish road that isolates the space..........

But it also lacks shade, visual interest, and intimate spaces.

That mall is among the most damning of choices; if they simply wiped it out and had the food-based retail and a couple of key stores for serving students face towards the commons, with patios and spread that around to the base of some of other buildings in that vicinity, it would do wonders.

But the public realm in the interior also seems hap haphazardly laid out. A lack of seating in some areas; poorly designed and maintained in others. Buildings that related poorly to the adjacent passages, landscape in poor condition.

A campus needs a mix of heavy-use, grid-like corridors that still show a bit of flare; along with intimate court yards, made safe by size, animation and 2 or more clear points of entry/exit.

York lacks for it all.

On top of which it is also poorly connected to the outside world.
 

DKsan

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The biggest problem with the central lawn, and the university as a whole, is that for most of the academic year, it's just plain not pleasant to be out on it. You might catch some rays in September, but the nice part of year, from May to August, the university is basically a ghost town except for academics, staff, and the smaller proportion of students who might take a course or two in the Spring term. The nice spaces at other Canadian universities are similarly empty, even UWaterloo, where the co-op programmes ensure that a third of the student body is around in the spring.

In contrast, the US academic year runs until the end of May, and in the UK, where I currently work at a central London university, undergrad exams tend to run until early June, and master's programmes are a condensed one year (as opposed to spaced out two years in Canada) which means students are around longer.

Combine this with that fact YorkU is largely a commuter school, moreso than the other Toronto universities. Living off campus for Ryerson or UT St. George is exciting because you might be downtown or adjacent, whereas almost everyone I knew, the few people who lived away from home when I was at YorkU, was cramped into that tiny off-campus residential development to the south. You could commute from downtown, but the only people I knew who actively did that were PhD students and/or people living with partners.
 
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Northern Light

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The biggest problem with the central lawn, and the university as a whole, is that for most of the academic year, it's just plain not pleasant to be out on it. You might catch some rays in September, but the nice part of year, from May to August, the university is basically a ghost town except for academics, staff, and the smaller proportion of students who might take a course or two in the Spring term. The nice spaces at other Canadian universities are similarly empty, even UWaterloo, where the co-op programmes ensure that a third of the student body is around in the spring.

In contrast, the US academic year runs until the end of May, and in the UK, where I currently work at a central London university, undergrad exams tend to run until early June, and master's programmes are a condensed one year (as opposed to spaced out two years in Canada) which means students are around longer.

Combine this with that fact YorkU is largely a commuter school, moreso than the other Toronto universities. Living off campus for Ryerson or UT St. George is exciting because you might be downtown or adjacent, whereas almost everyone I knew, the few people who lived away from home when I was at YorkU, was cramped into that tiny off-campus residential development to the south. You could commute from downtown, but the only people I knew who actively did that were PhD students and/or people living with partners.

Worth noting here, the campus spaces at U of T's St. George campus have the same schedule and weather, but manage to be mostly animated with people eating outside, reading on benches, engaging socially etc.

Good design, size and relationship to context doesn't save everything, but it sure helps!
 

fiendishlibrarian

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To be fair....

York's original Brutalist palette was very coherent. Growing up in the area in the late 1970s, it was very much an isolated yet unified whole, as were the adjacent Four Winds and Fountainhead apartment and townhouse complexes, comprising University City. Keep in mind as well that when it was conceived, the campus was literally in the middle of farm fields, I very much recall active farms on the Steeles border even into the 1980s, and when I started working there in 2003 many of the original fixtures were still intact: signage, wayfinding, fonts, vegetation accents, etc. This photo is very much what it was like when I was growing up:

C6gPAZHWYAEOzo1.jpg


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