University of Toronto Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport
Client : University of Toronto
Area : 143,200 sf
Program : FIBA-Sized Basketball Gymnasium, FIVB-Sized Volleyball Gymnasium, Spectator Seating, State-of-the-Art Strength and Conditioning Centre, Fitness Centre, Olympic Weightlifting, Changerooms, Sport Medicine Clinic, Blood Clinic, Imaging Suite (MRI & X-Ray), Treatment & Examination Rooms, Academic Mech. Lab, Sports Psychology Lab, Research Studios, Medical Offices, Multi-Use Rooms, Administrative and Support Spaces
Associated Architects : Patkau Architects
In a tight—and tightly zoned—infill site on the University of Toronto campus, the Centre is the final phase of the Varsity Stadium redevelopment, adding 140,000 square feet of programming to the university’s health and wellness efforts, and promoting the same values in the surrounding city.
The Centre is designed to be visually open to its neighbourhood. The stadium-side façade includes a glass curtain wall that extends across multiple levels, offering elevated views onto the playing field below and, seen from the exterior, inviting views into a cross-section of the building and the activities within. Sports and training facilities include a competition basketball/volleyball gymnasium, a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning centre, and an Olympic weightlifting gym, as well as multipurpose rooms, classrooms, change rooms, and a student centre. Also included within the structure is a sports medicine clinic with research studios, a sports psychology lab, treatment and examination rooms—and independent access through a separate lobby, which allows the clinic to better serve both student body and public.
The Centre is able to fit this ambitious program into its narrow site by placing some programs below grade—notably the field house, whose basketball court was too large to place at grade while preserving the necessary setbacks. Placing the court below grade allows it to occupy the full length and width of the site while still conforming to zoning, and also provided the opportunity to add ground-level clerestories around the perimeter of the court, which connects the court to viewers and to daylight, and reduced the required excavation depth by 10 feet.
To preserve the requisite column-free span for the courts, the Centre’s upper floors are suspended from above by 180-foot trusses. This move is an agile solution to the site’s constraints and, because the monumental steel frame is visible through the glazed façade, presents a unique architectural appearance to the street.
The use of curtain-wall glazing for the building envelope also connects interior to exterior, cohering the spaces on either side. Indoor spaces are visually completed on the exterior—as in the mirroring of the tiered floors in the strength and conditioning centre with the tiered seating of the stadium—binding activities together across the façade, linking the effort of training to the resulting performance, and enclosing the stadium within a city-scaled room.