The Grove at the University of Toronto

Client University of Toronto, Bird Construction
Location Toronto, Canada
Status Concept Only

The Grove creates vibrant, collaborative spaces that reflect the school's mission of designing to high sustainability standards.

The Grove at the University of Toronto is a new 751-bed dormitory project designed as part of a competition for the university. Aimed at first year undergraduates, the project would help UTSC, traditionally know as a commuter campus, to have more students on the campus 24/7, adding to the vibrancy of campus life. 

In addition to dormitory residences, the program includes student living & community spaces, conference space, commercial/retail, and a 250-seat dining hall. Associated living spaces include interactive/connective spaces such as common lounges, group study rooms, music practice rooms, laundry facilities, a community kitchen, an event space, and a wellness studio.

The form and massing of the building in a simple “I” configuration creates three distinct residential communities per floor, maximizes outward looking views to the campus and community while minimizing views back towards adjacent units. A series of seating “nooks” are incorporated in the design of the ground floor “bluff wall” as well as the intersection of the upper floors’ north and north-south corridors. These nooks provide flexible meeting and collaboration spaces for students as well as enlivening the otherwise utilitarian circulation spaces.

The Grove was designed to be Passive House, the most rigorous construction sustainability standard in the world. The high performance building envelope incorporates a wood patterned embossed aluminum cladding system that speaks to the character of the regional materials, evoking the tradition of domestic wood structures while providing maximum durability. Similarly, the building’s fenestration creates a dynamic pattern where the dormitory windows shear past each other in two story sets to eschew regimentation of the façade, creating an informal, domestic feel to the façade. This double story layering also reduces the apparent verticality of the building, enhancing its “fit” into the low- rise neighborhood. The window size was carefully selected in order to maximize the exposure to natural light, while minimizing potential heat loss, maximizing solar gain, and maintaining functional operation without sacrificing the layout of the internal spaces.


Design Architect

Design Partner(s)

Associate Architect - IBI Group