Ryerson University celebrates the opening of the Centre for Urban Innovation
On Thursday Feb. 14, Ryerson University celebrated the official opening of the Centre for Urban Innovation (CUI), the university’s newest building and the first building on campus dedicated solely to research and innovation. Located at 44 Gerrard St. E., the new 60,000-square-foot building provides research and innovation space for faculty and students focusing on solutions for critical urban infrastructure issues.
“Thanks to the generous investment from the federal government the university has its first building solely focused on research,” said Mohamed Lachemi, Ryerson University president and vice-chancellor. “The researchers working in CUI will be producing breakthroughs and creating solutions to urban challenges to help shape our cities of the future.”
The interdisciplinary hub brings together faculty and students conducting research on food, water, energy, data analytics and transportation, including new space for Ryerson’s network of zones. The Centre for Urban Energy, one of CUI’s occupants, focuses on clean energy and alternative energy innovation, including smart grid technology, energy storage, net-zero homes and renewables. Founded in 2010, CUE has launched major projects involving electric cars, wind and solar energy, and battery storage systems. Other occupants, such as the Food Research Lab is developing solutions dedicated to improving the satiety of foods in order to counter Canada’s growing obesity epidemic, while the NExT lab explores the impact of exercise and body composition on human health.
“This remarkable building signals a new level of research excellence at Ryerson,” said Steven N. Liss, Vice-President, Research and Innovation at Ryerson University. “This will be the focal point for university faculty and student work in city building and urban innovation, and a hub where the collision of ideas and collaborative research will thrive.”
Built in 1886, the site was home to the first school of pharmacy in Canada, external link. Ryerson University acquired the site in 1963. Moriyama & Teshima Architects’ (MTA) design of the CUI incorporates the building’s historic past by preserving the original three-storey heritage building and enfolding it with two large additions on the north and east sides. These cutting-edge facilities are joined to the heritage building with sky-lit open spaces, maintaining the distinctive features of the original 1880s lab space. Many other features of the historical building have also been retained, including the original 19th-century lecture hall. As part of Ryerson’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, the project is designed to LEED Silver standards, adaptively reusing the existing building and reducing the construction footprint.
The Centre for Urban Innovation was made possible by a $19.8 million investment from the federal government’s Strategic Investment Fund, a federal program designed to modernize infrastructure and improve the environmental sustainability on post-secondary campuses.