A planned University of Toronto complex on College east of Queen’s Park Crescent has been given a major push forward thanks to a $100-million donation from philanthropists Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman, the largest ever received by the university. Designed by New York-based Weiss/Manfredi Architects alongside local firm Teeple Architects, the planned Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre is set to replace the existing Banting and Best Complex with a pair of connected towers containing a combined 750,000 square feet of institutional space.

U of T Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, image by Weiss/Manfredi

We have previously covered plans for the 12-storey first phase building, proposed for the site of the Banting and Best complex's 1953-built Best Building. The major funding announcement comes with the news that the complex's east building will be replaced by a 500,000-square-foot, 20-storey second phase with a design matching the shorter 250,000-square-foot tower to the west.

Looking south to the U of T Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, image by Weiss/Manfredi

The substantial gift, made through The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation, will also support the launch of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society, which will explore the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies including artificial intelligence. With the new injection of funding, the university plans to begin construction on the first phase of the complex this fall.

Looking east to U of T Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, image by Weiss/Manfredi

The buildings have the potential to be instant icons with their tapered trapezoidal forms and textured grid-like cladding. Inside, the complex will offer space for startups and fast-growing companies, including vertical gardens, multiple atria, and other collaborative spaces to serve the future of the rapidly-expanding local tech sector and U of T’s innovation and entrepreneurship network.

Atrium at the U of T Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, image by Weiss/Manfredi

“For the first time, the University of Toronto will have a central facility where young entrepreneurs and faculty can dream big,” reads a statement from Scott Mabury, vice-president operations & real estate partnerships. “These flagship buildings will have purpose-built spaces for innovation and provide much-needed room for research-based scaleup companies, which will help to keep Canadian ideas and talent in Canada.”

Joining the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society in the 12-storey first phase tower will be the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, specializing in deep learning and machine learning research. The taller second phase tower is set to house laboratories providing research space for some of the world’s top innovators in regenerative medicine, genetics and precision medicine.

Phase 1 of the U of T Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, image by Weiss/Manfredi

“This new complex will contribute enormously to innovation at U of T,” stated world-renowned AI pioneer and University Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Hinton. “It will help consolidate Toronto’s leading position in the AI world. The Centre will attract other AI experts and help to spark additional AI-based innovations. It will also bring together scholars from an array of disciplines to study the implications of AI in today’s world.”

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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Related Companies:  Teeple Architects, University of Toronto, Weiss/Manfredi Architects