Ryerson University Architecture Building

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Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science is housed in a Ron Thom building located at 325 Church Street, Toronto (Ryersonian). It is bordered on the north by the Monetary Building built in 1929, on the east by Eric Palin Hall built in 1970’s  and Pitman Hall built in 1991 (Campus Tour 4), and on the south by an open green square that grants students and pedestrians refuge from summer heat. The Architecture Building has been extensively reported on by both on campus media groups such as the Ryersonian and the Eyeopener , as well as external, city wide news agencies such as the Toronto Rumbler and NOW magazine.

After a fire that destroyed the building housing the Department of Architectural Science at Bay Street in 1977 (Ryerson Campus Tour), Ron Thom was hired in 1979 to design the current Architecture building.  The Architecture Building was completed in 1981. It was one of his last projects before his death in 1986.

Through an analysis of the building, the observation can be made of two overlapping rectangles shaping the perimeter of the Architecture Building resulting in two atria formed in the space shared by each rectangle. These atria serve as the vertical axis to the longitudinal axis formed by the rectangular perimeter (The Thom Partnership). There are two primary entrances: one on Church Street and the other opposite the Pitman Hall dormitory of Ryerson, both on the longitudinal perimeter. The two fire exists are on the latitudinal edges of the building while the loading dock is situated on the northern wall facing the Monetary Times building. While ascending the poured in place concrete steps to the Church Street entrance, the observer is offered a view of the staircase leading upward from the atrium through the lightly tinted glazing above the entrance. A similar sight is encountered at the Academic Complex of Queen’s University (Shadbolt 123)

Rough exposed concrete punctuated by steel framed spandrel windows form the facade, emanating strength and stability through the building’s massive size. Though darker in color than the neighbouring Monetary Building, Thom creates an extreme contrast through the use of concrete and glass. The occupants – professors and students of architecture, as well as visitors – however; are not alienated as they progress through the building. The structure and the adventurer becomes one, each reinvigorating the other.  The grand entrance on Church Street adds to the mystic.


Arthur, Eric. Toronto: No Mean City. Tornto: University of Toronto, 1965. Print.

“Christening of Academic Building.” The Ryesonian [Toronto] 16 Nov. 1981. Print.

KPMB, Daoust Lestage Inc., Greenberg Consultants Inc., and IBI Group. Ryerson University Master Plan. Print.

McMordie, Michael. “Thom, Ronald James.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. <http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0007961&gt;.

Project 7 Academic Building Ryerson Polytechnic Institure. The Thom Partnership, assignee. Patent. 23 Nov. 1979. Print.

Shadbolt, Douglas, and Ronald James Thom. Ron Thom: the Shaping of an Architect. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1995. Print.

“Sick Buiilding Syndrome.” The Ryesonian [Toronto] 30 Nov. 1994: 16. Print.

“60th Anniversary – Alumni Relations.” Ryerson University. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. <http://www.ryerson.ca/alumni/60/index.html&gt;.

“YouTube – Architecture Building – Ryerson University Video Tour.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Web. 17 Oct. 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22EQ9TmOpZ0&gt;.



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One Response to Ryerson University Architecture Building

  1. Stuart Studebaker says:

    It is one of the most butt-ugly buildings at Ryerson. To look at it and think that someone somewhere thought it was a good idea inspires hopeless depression. That it houses the architecture department at Ryerson is just sad.

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