The University of Toronto’s Robarts Library at St. George and Harbord streets is undergoing a major expansion, bringing a new five-storey addition to the classic Mathers and Haldenby-designed example of Brutalist architecture. Rising along the building's Huron Street frontage, the Diamond Schmitt Architects-designed glass addition will add 4,304 m² to the iconic facility, and be known as Robarts Common.

Looking north to Robarts Library and Robarts Common, image by Craig White

Earlier work on the addition involved structural steel assembly for the new build’s north and south ends. These separate work areas are now being joined by steel work in the middle, with the lowest two levels now structurally complete. The north and south ends are a bit further along, with the five levels largely in place and work now beginning for the mechanical penthouse level above.

Looking southeast to Robarts Library and Robarts Common, image by Forum contributor ProjectEnd

Views into the steel structure reveal that work is well underway on installing the floating staircases that will serve as a key design and circulation element visible through the glazed facades. The staircases now stretch to their final height, connecting the ground level with the base of the fifth floor. Other design elements are now apparent, including diagonal steel beams marking the glazed projection's future faceted edges.

Looking north to Robarts Library and Robarts Common, image by Craig White

Once construction wraps up next year, the completed addition will add 1,222 work and study spaces to facility, increasing Robarts Library's capacity to more than 6,000 seats across study spaces open 24/7 during peak times in the academic year. The south entrance to Robarts Common will include an atrium with a café, flexible seating and information terminals.

Robarts Common, image via University of Toronto

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