Université de l’Ontario français (UOF) Campus, Toronto

Gow Hastings Architects, Toronto

Photography by Tom Arban 

The campus of one of Canada’s newest universities focussed on French-language education in Ontario is a fit-out renovation filling 50,000 square feet of the second floor of a mixed-use building at Toronto’s waterfront. Taking advantage of every inch of the industrial aesthetic, program areas are extruded between angled exterior walls and irregularly spaced columns; a white bulkhead suspended over the reception desk lowers the 25-ft. high ceilings and builds a portal to smaller “vessels;” and custom LED “light ladders” formed by integrating linear fixtures extend through circulation spaces, connecting each vessel and encouraging the eye to climb onward. Anchoring the campus’s centre are two agoras meant to bridge the public and the campus with community events, linked by a transitional seating area with the ability to shift between an open lounge and a programmed classroom, or work in hybrid to form an entirely new use. Wrapping this layer cake of multi-use spaces is floor-to-ceiling glazing with 360-degree views of the city on all sides.