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Unveiling the future of Yonge Street

By Will Sloan

Ryerson Student Learning Centre

The eight-storey building will offer a mix of work spaces, including bookable seminar rooms, open-space floors and an expanded Digital Media Zone.

The university gave Toronto media a look at its ambitious Student Learning Centre (SLC) with a tour of the construction site August 20, and the response was enthusiastic. Toronto Star architecture critic Christopher Hume said the building is as much “art as it is architecture.”

“Students are Ryerson’s top priority and the SLC embodies the university’s commitment to providing them with exceptional experiences,” said Mohamed Lachemi, provost and vice president academic. “Learning happens as much outside the classroom between peers as it does inside and we hope that the SLC will become the central place where students come to collaborate, to share their ideas and to study.”

The 155,000-square-foot building will provide more space for a growing campus, while also transforming the heart of Toronto’s downtown. Three green roofs and a transparent, temperature-moderating glass exterior contribute to the building’s eco-friendly, LEED Silver compliancy.

Below is a description of each floor and how it is designed to enhance the student learning experience.

First and second floors

Students entering will be greeted by an amphitheatre structure, with tiered casual seating and a grand staircase leading up to the third level. The first floor will include a welcome desk and café, with the second floor home to a library staff lounge and the bridge connecting the SLC to the Ryerson Library.

Third floor

Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone, an innovation incubator for startup projects at 10 Dundas St. East, will expand to the SLC’s third floor. Space will also be provided for the Ryerson Library’s Digital Media Experience, which offers student workshops in the use of advanced digital technology.

Fourth floor

Dense with office space, this floor will bring together the university’s student learning support services (Learning Success, English Language Support, Writing Support, Math Assistance, Access Centre, Grad Student Support, Library Learning Services) under one roof, in addition to seminar rooms and an open study area. This is the only floor that has any staff offices and classroom-type spaces.

Fifth floor

Students can choose from a variety of workspace, with the fifth floor offering open group work areas, four seminar rooms (for up to 50 people each), and 11 collaborative work rooms (four to eight people each). The floor will offer digital conferencing opportunities for a technology-rich experience.

Sixth floor

The sixth floor gives students a completely open study and casual gathering space, with a panoramic view of Yonge Street. There are no desks or fixed seating in this multi-level area. This floor is intended to be a central spot where students can really enjoy themselves and engaged with one another.

“We see this as a very social space,” said architect Mike Smith, Zeidler Partnership Architects. “This is a place where students can work collaboratively and enjoy fabulous views out to Yonge Street.”

Seventh floor

The seventh floor features a large graduate study room, quiet and open study spaces and 30 bookable group work rooms.

“A key factor in Ryerson’s evolution as a comprehensive university has been the growth in graduate education,” said Lachemi. “Being able to provide our 2,300 graduate students with this extra dedicated space for study and research will help to strengthen their experience.”

Eighth floor

On the top floor, open study areas and 19 collaborative work rooms will be illuminated by another panoramic view of downtown Toronto.

Taken together, the eight floors give students more dedicated space to study, collaborate and share ideas. Construction will be completed by the end of the year, with the opening targeted for winter 2015.

“Each floor in the building is designed to enhance the student experience at Ryerson,” said Julia Hanigsberg, vice-president, administration and finance at Ryerson. “Each space is designed for a unique purpose and the whole space is designed to be beautiful.”

For more information on the Student Learning Centre, visit:

Media Room:
Ryerson Builds:
Student Learning Centre Blog:

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