When U of T Scarborough’s newest building, tentatively known as Highland Hall, opens next year, it will provide something that has long been missing from the campus – an architecturally distinctive “front door” that will celebrate the link between the campus and the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Principal Bruce Kidd envisions a place where students and faculty members will engage with residents of Scarborough on issues related to suburbs, migration and globalization. UTSC researchers in recent years have established partnerships with a range of community groups. “Highland Hall will relocate the social sciences to the street front,” he says, noting the new structure will become “a centre of excellence for the study and practice of community development.”
Now under construction, the five-storey, $52-million project will also provide a home for the registrar’s office and the Hub, the campus’s entrepreneurship centre. It will offer study space, common areas and amenities with capacity for as many as 600 students.
The architectural concept, with an open space connecting cascading levels, explicitly aims to bring people together, Kidd notes. “The design, especially the atrium, is intended to stimulate cross-disciplinary inquiry and collaboration while presenting an inviting face to the community.”
The project is supported by gifts from alumni and friends totalling $1.35 million, including a $1-million donation from Mark Krembil (BA 1988 UTSC), through the Krembil Family Foundation.