Mid-2021 Opening for ‘Robarts Common’ Library Expansion

Nearly a half-century after the University of Toronto’s Robarts Library opened its doors at St George and Harbord streets, the Mathers and Haldenby-designed Brutalist icon is gearing up to welcome a modern five-storey addition opening in 2021. The new ‘Robarts Common’ designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects will bring 4,304 m² of new space to the 1973-built building’s Huron Street frontage, with a glazed, chamfered form.

Robarts Common, University of Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsLooking northeast to Robarts Common, image by Forum contributor AlbertC

The first signs of preliminary construction work were spotted along the facility’s west side towards the end of 2017. Now, just over three years later, the structurally-complete building is looking much closer to what was promised in the renderings. Glazing installation, which has been ongoing since this summer, now encloses the entire building. The addition’s exterior is articulated via six faces of curtainwall, faceting the crystalline massing.

Robarts Common, University of Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsLooking east to Robarts Common, image by Forum contributor Rascacielo

The clarity of the glass allows for easy views into the addition’s interiors, where the individual spaces of the new structure are being partitioned with walls, as other interior finishing and internal systems installations continue. The glazing’s notable clarity is part of the plan to maximize natural lighting through the addition’s primarily west-facing glazed facade.

Robarts Common, University of Toronto, Diamond Schmitt ArchitectsLooking north to Robarts Common, image by Forum contributor AlbertC

The months are now ticking down to the building’s planned mid-2021 opening, upon which time it will add 1,222 work and study spaces to Robarts Library, increasing capacity to over 6,000 seats. The addition’s south entrance is set to include an atrium with a café, flexible seating, and information terminals.

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 below.

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