Between the hectic world of Downtown Toronto and the onslaught of work and stress at the post-secondary level, students face many challenges detrimental to their physical and mental health. Toronto Metropolitan University is working to address this with the Centre for Student Wellbeing at 137 Bond Street. Hariri Pontarini Architects has submitted a Site Plan Approval application for the project.

Looking east to the Centre for Student Wellbeing, as designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects for Toronto Metropolitan University

The proposed building would be a central hub for the campus’s health services. Currently, these offerings are spread out across the university’s 42 buildings in the downtown core. The variety of services include tri-mentoring, health promotion programs, and Consent Comes First, a support centre for those affected by gender-based violence.

The new centre would be at the historic O’Keefe House constructed around 1855. Located at the southeast corner of Bond and Gould streets, the site is just northeast of the major intersection of Yonge and Dundas streets. The O’Keefe House is in the City’s Heritage Register, and the proposed design is intended to preserve the site while reimagining it as part of the new facility.

Looking southeast to the Centre for Student Wellbeing, as designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects for Toronto Metropolitan University

Standing 31.38m with eight storeys and a gross floor area of 2,670m², the Centre for Student Wellbeing proposal is part of Toronto Metropolitan University’s 2020 Campus Master Plan. Their goals include expansion of health services, and the space is designed to include 534m² for offices and 1,453m² for medical exam rooms.

The proposal entails the tower being built to the south side of the O’Keefe House, with three storeys being added to the house itself. There would be a glazed transitional podium behind the house, along with a rooftop terrace. The L-shaped tower would wrap around the historic site.

An aerial view of the Centre for Student Wellbeing and surrounding area, image retrieved from Google Maps

The intention of the design is to optimize natural light and mass timber construction for a warm feel. Environmental concerns have been taken into account with a green roof and use of the existing O’Keefe House to reduce carbon emissions. The construction would include natural materials and spaces for Indigenous placemaking. All of this works conjointly to create an inclusive, positive space for physical and mental health.

Looking southeast from Bond Street and Gould Street to the O'Keefe House, image retrieved from Google Street View

There is a Heritage Impact Statement included in the proposal. It concludes that the design allows for the O’Keefe House to maintain its integrity and its heritage attributes. The project itself is intended to actually benefit the house by boosting its prominence. The proposal argues that the care and attention given to O’Keefe House is apt for a project designed to provide comprehensive physical and mental health services for students.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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Related Companies:  EVOQ Architecture Inc., Hariri Pontarini Architects, NAK Design Strategies, Terraprobe Inc