The University of Toronto has announced that the Robarts Library addition (to be known as Robarts Common) will begin construction this summer after reaching their fundraising goal. Following a fundraising campaign for the project involving over 1,000 individual donors, a final donation from Drs. Russell and Katherine Morrison topped of the project goal. The Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed addition will be built on the West side of the Mathers and Haldenby-designed library, overtop of the existing loading bays. It will add 1,222 new work and study spaces for students, both flexible and individual, to what is an already busy study hub on campus. 

Rendering of Robarts Library and Robarts Common, image DSAI, courtesy of U of T

The design of the five storey expansion is in contrast to the original library, reflecting the contrast in study space types and purposes. Where the original library boasts more intimate and reserved spaces with minimal natural light coming from few windows, Robarts Common will take the exact opposite approach with a glass curtain wall design.

Rendering of Robarts Library and Robarts Common, image DSAI, courtesy of U of T

Floor to ceiling fritted windows will allow natural light to flood the various spaces within, giving students a different experience of Robarts. In addition to the extensive use of glass, interlocking metal panels with wood detailing inside, the aesthetics of Robarts Common will greatly contrast with the mid-twentieth century brutalist concrete of the original library. New spaces will also change to adapt to the needs of students in a contemporary university, with many flexible study areas and spaces to encourage collaboration and a different type of study space. 

Rendering of Robarts Library and Robarts Common Plaza, image DSAI, courtesy of U of T

The Robarts Common project will also feature a new outdoor plaza and park immediately to the south at the corner of Harbord and Huron streets. The new plaza and park are part of an overall revitalization of Robarts Library's outdoor spaces and porticos, aiming to make them more inviting, accessible, and productive for students and visitors alike.

Rendering of Robarts Library and Robarts Common Plaza, image DSAI, courtesy of U of T

Students will also be welcomed by an atrium with a cafe, flexible seating, and information terminals in the main south entrance. The addition will also be accessible through link bridges from floors two to five for convenient access between the two buildings. Robarts Common is sure to become a popular destination for the roughly 18,000 students a day who look through the library for comfortable spaces to spend hours working.

With a projected completion of Fall 2019, shovels are expected to hit the ground very soon. We will keep you updated as construction progresses over the coming months. In the meantime, be sure to check out our database file with more detailed renderings and related stories, linked below. Join the discussion in the associated Forum thread linked below, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page. 

Related Companies:  Blackwell, Diamond Schmitt Architects, Mathers and Haldenby, University of Toronto