scarberiankhatru

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I'd bet real money that the addition will be a brutal bunch of concrete triangles.

However, I'm still not sure precisely what the glass entry pavillions will be - will they be enclosing new space (this is doubtful because the report mentions that enclosing such space would compromise the building) or will they be glazing and de-concreting most of the 2nd floor (and this is also doubtful for the same reason).

Northern Light: The main St. George entrance is tucked away under an overbearing triangular slab, but the enlarged and additional staircases will make the 2nd floor fully accessible from every direction, improving its function as a community hub.
 

allabootmatt

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I'm not sure about the holdings of Robarts specifically but the UofT library system is ranked 3rd I believe in NA after Harvard and Yale.


Which makes it, incidentally, the largest public university library on the continent. Not so bad for little old TO.
 

adma

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The fact that they're building where an addition was envisaged in the first place--completing the trilobe, so to speak--suggests that they're respecting the parti...
 

adma

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Erm...I think Toronto's brutalism preservationists are about to have their Boston City Hall moment.

Well, maybe the hardcore fetishists. But we must remember that Robarts was never embraced within the profession like BCH (or locally, Scarborough College). It was too much the product of the end run of Big Bad Educational Institutional Bureaucracy--the US consultants, Warner Burns Toan & Lunde, were hacks specializing in university megastructures; this just happened to be the most outlandish thing they ever created--the hacks outdid themselves...
 

mysteryman

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^but the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is pretty special...on the inside at least. The peacock is best left unmentioned. oops.
 

ShonTron

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I'm not a big brutalism fan (there's few examples of brutalism I like), but I think Robarts is worthy of preservation, and I can overlook its faults.

I'll reserve judgement until seeing the renders. If it helps the building overcome its bad street presence while maintaining the integrity of the overall concept (a tall order for sure), I'll likely support it, but too early.
 

junctionist

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The Medical Sciences Building is another Brutalist building at St. George that is unique. It's interesting to compare the two. Robarts is overpowering, and yet the MSB fits in well. The interior of the MSB also has less concrete forms. Robarts could lose the ugly antennas placed on the roof.
 

unimaginative2

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Though not the equal of something like Scarborough College, it's definitely worthy of preservation The Rare Book Library is very impressive. Replacing some of the concrete panels with glass sounds like a good idea, though. The lack of natural light is a terrible waste of energy in such a massive building, and it's very depressing for the people who have to work there.

I'd like to see them move the collections of some of the other campus libraries to Robarts. It's nice having the little libraries as study spaces and whatnot, but forcing you to wander across campus to a dozen different libraries to research a paper is rather inconvenient.
 

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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I found the floor plans interesting. As long as the third side somehow matches/integrates with the main building then it should be nice. And I like the plan to reinvigorate the steps.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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From the U of T Governing Council Budget and Planning Committee Minutes:

6. Capital Project: Project Planning Report – Robarts Library Renewal and Expansion

The Chair noted that Ms Carole Moore, University of Toronto Chief Librarian, was a member of the Committee and was present to answer questions.

Professor Goel explained that the Robarts Library, which opened approximately 35 years ago, was among the top research libraries in North America. However, significant growth in student enrollment had created a need for additional student access and study space within the Library system. The building of an off-site storage facility had been approved several years ago.

The proposed plan would include renovation and reconfiguration of approximately 15,750 net assignable square metres (nasm) of interior space. This would create 1,588 new study spaces and would result in the reconfiguration of 1,872 existing spaces. The plan also proposed the addition of a five storey pavilion building located along Huron Street in the centre of the approved Site 4 envelope. The pavilion would comprise 6,630 gross square metres (gsm), allowing for an additional 1,164 new study spaces. A final Project Planning Report would be brought forward prior to implementation of this phase of the project.

Additionally, the plan proposed renovations to the Library’s exterior, including replacing concrete panels with glazed panels in the upper apex area to allow for greater use of natural light. Furthermore, the reconfiguration and addition of stairs and stepped seating leading to the new glazed level entry was proposed, totaling 470 gsm. The intention was to create a casual, outdoor social gathering space similar to that found at Bryant Park in New York City.
In total, the proposal would increase current study spaces within the Library by 76%.

The total project cost for all projects described in the plan was estimated to be $74,297,000, assuming all projects were tendered in January, 2009. Each phase of the proposal could be completed as a discrete project, proceeding in any order to suit funding opportunities. As funding became available, components would be implemented with additional approval from the Accommodation and Facilities Directorate, or in accordance with the Policy on Capital Projects, as appropriate. Professor Goel advised that active fundraising was underway for the project – a challenge donation of $10 million had already been received.

A member noted that the Design Review Committee had reviewed preliminary plans for the project, but inquired about the current status of the design process. Professor Goel replied that once the proposal was approved in principle, further design work would be completed and resubmitted to the Design Review Committee.

A member asked whether the Library would remain fully operational during the construction. Ms Moore indicated that the facility would remain as operational as possible during implementation, and reminded members that the project would proceed in phases.

A member suggested that the cost of heating the building would be higher if the concrete panels were replaced by glass. Professor Goel responded that glass was commonly utilized in the design of new buildings, and noted that the renovations would likely result in increased air handling efficiency. For example, he pointed out that the operating costs of the new Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy building were lower than in the previous facility.

A member inquired whether the Business Board had considered the proposal. Professor Goel indicated that individual components which were subject to the Policy for Capital Projects would be presented to the Business Board for approval before being implemented. He noted that the Committee was being asked to approve the proposal in principle, which would demonstrate that the plan was an academic priority of the University.

A member asked whether the Project Planning Committee had considered a larger expansion, by, for example, increasing the height of the pavilion. Ms Moore replied that the proposal was based on the restrictions of the current building envelope. The member asked whether the expansion would be as useful for graduate students as it was for undergraduates. Ms Moore explained that the Committee had consulted students in creating the proposal, and that all students would benefit from the improved study space.

Professor Goel added that the proposal was very important for the institution in making the Library functional and contemporary, and enhancing the overall student experience.

http://www.governingcouncil.utoront...Committee/2007+-+2008+Academic+Year/r0109.pdf

AoD
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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From the Globe:

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Plan to beef up Robarts endorsed by board
$74-million project would add new wing to much-used library
ELIZABETH CHURCH

EDUCATION REPORTER

February 4, 2008

The University of Toronto's Robarts library, home to one of the largest academic collections in North America, has plans to become even bigger.

A $74-million expansion proposal, that would see a new wing added to the distinctive concrete building at the corner of Hoskins Avenue and St. George Street, was endorsed this week by the university's academic board and will go for final approval to the school's governing council.

The planned addition will increase student study space by 50 per cent and will be on the site of a third "pavilion" of the library that was dropped from the original design because of cost.

"It is something that needs to be done. Even in a virtual world, students still need study space," said Carole Moore, the university's chief librarian.

Conceptual drawings show a new, five-storey structure linked to the west side of the triangular main building, just as the rare book library and the faculty of information studies sit on the building's other two sides. The project also includes improvements to existing study spaces.

If the expansion is approved, the university would begin a public fundraising campaign, although it is understood some money has been committed to the project.

The province also recently has directed millions to library expansions at Ryerson University and on the campus of Nipissing University and Canadore College in North Bay.

Recent surveys by the University of Toronto identified safe, available room to work as a top priority for students, the vast majority of whom live off campus. About 10,000 people use Robarts each day, which holds the university's main humanities and social sciences collection.

Its collection, the largest in Canada, also attracts about 100,000 visiting scholars and community users each year.

"This is a provincial and a national resource," said Elizabeth Sisam, the university's assistant vice-president of campus facilities and planning. "It's in need of renewal."

The library, named after former Ontario premier John Robarts, opened in 1973. It was criticized at the time as an unnecessary extravagance because of its cost - $42-million - and its size.

Plans to limit the collection to graduate students also sparked protests from undergraduates, who fought for and won access to the new space.

Ms. Sisam - who as an architecture student took part in those protests - said she hopes to use the proposed expansion to revitalize the public space surrounding the library and add more community programming.

Plans for the building - sometimes called Fort Book because of its imposing quality - include widened staircases that would "encourage social gathering" and provide outdoor seating.

AoD
 

scarberiankhatru

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From the Globe:

The planned addition will increase student study space by 50 per cent and will be on the site of a third "pavilion" of the library that was dropped from the original design because of cost.

"It is something that needs to be done. Even in a virtual world, students still need study space," said Carole Moore, the university's chief librarian.

No. In a virtual world, students needs computers. There's hundreds, sometimes thousands of study spaces currently in Robarts that sit unused, but lineups for computers can last beyond midnight. Maybe they just assume 100% of students have laptops that always stay charged, but that's very far from the truth.
 

confused5o1

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Isn't Robarts still sinking due to the sheer amount of downward pressure brought upon by all those books/concrete?
 

Hydrogen

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^If it were sinking, Robarts should be below the horizon by now.



I'm surprised at how long this myth has persisted - even among students who use the building. The building is supposedly sinking, but you can still walk in the doors without having to duck. :rolleyes:
 

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