Architecture school provides early look at Church St. Development

Lead designer from Perkins + Well, Andrew Fontini, surveys one of the models at Public Space Rules, a show on display in the architecture building.

Lead designer from Perkins + Will, Andrew Fontini, surveys one of the models at Public Space Rules, a show on display in the architecture building.  Sean Wetselaar / Ryersonian Staff

Weeks after the opening of the Student Learning Centre, students can get a sneak peak at the next feat of architecture set to grace Ryerson’s campus.

The Church St. Development is slated to begin construction this summer, around two years after initial planning on the project began.

The vision for the new building is currently on display as a show in the architecture building — dubbed “Public Space Rules” — which features a graphic novel -style walkthrough of the planning phases of the building. It’s on display in the Paul H. Cocker Gallery until April 10.

The building, a high-density, mixed-use structure will occupy the parking lot beside the interior design building, just south of Church and Gould streets. It will include a residence — meant to combat Ryerson’s severe lack of available rooms for students — along with classroom space, food services and a fabrication lab for the Digital Media Zone.

The show was designed to help explain what the building’s design philosophies and identity to the community, according to Andrew Fontini, one of the show’s curators and lead designer on the project for architecture firm Perkins + Will.

“That identity had to be strong enough to weather lots of influences and storms ahead,” Fontini said. “So we thought, if the building’s like a personality or character then it’s like the protagonist at the centre of the story and we’ll use this kind of graphic novel format to make it kind of plain.”

The building is currently in the zoning and planning stages, and will soon move into contract documents — detailed construction documents. Everything still has to be approved by the City, but Fontini says the building is planned to open in time for students to move into the residence in the fall of 2018.

Costs of the project will be covered in part by partnerships with other organizations. For example, MPI will develop the residence, are funding construction costs, and operating the building on a 50-year lease, Fontini said.

If everything is going to keep on schedule, though, there is much work to do. Fontini said the purpose of the show was to, “tell everyone the story of how we got on the same page, because we’re not finished yet, obviously. The exhibit ends with to be continued.”

“We’ve come a long way but there is still a long way to go.”

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