The larger challenge of this project is not only to construct a great High Performance Sport Centre and a vibrant Student Commons but also to contribute to the coherent development of the campus as a whole. The new building needs to foster a rich set of relationships within, and between, the different programs it houses and its immediate and larger context, acting as a kind of glue than binds program to site, taking advantage of local opportunity. It needs to support student and campus life while producing unique and memorable new ‘places’ on the U of T campus.
Name of project: Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport and University of Toronto Student Commons
Location: Toronto, Canada
Varsity Stadium is a unique space in the fabric of the city and the U of T campus that pulses periodically with crowds and activities. While it is often dense with people on the ground plane, above it opens a huge space, park-like in its expansiveness; as such it offers great potential to adjacent sites.
New Athletic and Student Precinct
The addition of the Goldring Centre & U of T Student Commons to the existing facilities surrounding Varsity Stadium will energize Devonshire Place and create an increasingly coherent athletic and student precinct on campus.
Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport
The role and location of Devonshire Place within the larger street grid of the campus and the city suggests that it could be closed to vehicular traffic during major athletic and student events. This project proposes that significant spaces within the Goldring Centre & U of T Student Commons overlook both Varsity Stadium and events along Devonshire Place, constructing synergies between stadium/street/building. (You could be working out and watching the game in Varsity Stadium…listening on headsets to media coverage. You could be at your computer in the Student Commons, texting friends a first hand report of the street party taking place below or letting partying friends in the crowd know you are moments away.) Overlook from the street to the basketball and volleyball courts in the Field house below connects events deep within the building to the street above. Minor adjustments to the street infrastructure and landscape (the provision of electrical outlets, for instance) could encourage large-scale events that support both important sports gatherings and special student activities.
The project builds on an existing net of small-scale pedestrian passages on campus. At its northern edge, an interior walk extends through the building from west to east connecting the existing landscape link between Woodsworth College and Woodsworth College Residence to Devonshire Place, the Students Common and the Food Court. At its southern edge, passage along the Trinity College tennis courts provides an outdoor link from Woodsworth College to Devonshire Place. On its western edge a new laneway between the project and Woodsworth College creates a quiet passage connecting the campus from the south to Bloor Street. Trees act as a mediating screen between the College and the Student Centre on the lower floors, continuing the language of linked, landscaped passages.
Big Things Next to Small Things
The Goldring Centre & U of T Student Commons is a large new facility backing onto an existing small college across a narrow laneway. Scale is an issue. To mediate the relationship between the large and the small, the west face of the new project is striated horizontally: At grade, along the laneway it provides an overhang for covered bicycle parking and drops a stair from the Food Court above to provide easy access for students approaching from the south. Overlook to the basketball and volleyball courts in the Field house below connects the activities within the building to the life of the larger campus. The lane becomes positive campus space and is landscaped to add to the network of small landscaped passages in the area. From the second to the fourth floor student activities line the lane. At the fourth floor, the west face of the project changes scale again. A small student balcony shears the upper mass from the lower to establish a scale relationship with the College across the lane. Above this, the building is a Living Wall with vines and a variety of plants climbing vertically. This wall acts to screen the harshest western light from work spaces within. It also serves as landscape backdrop to the Woodsworth College courtyard, mediating the scale and effect of the large new project on this small intimate space.
The Goldring Centre & U of T Student Commons is spatially and functionally complex: a dense series of large and extra-large spaces that need to be stacked due to the relatively small size of the site, mid-size spaces that want to be grouped and small spaces that can float and be interspersed as needed.
There are four major stacked spaces in the project: the Sports Bowl, the Student Commons, the Strength and Conditioning Terrace and the Sky Court. One of these spaces, the Sports Bowl, is dug into the earth surfacing only at grade where is provides overlook for passersby. Two of these spaces, the Student Commons and the Strength and Conditioning Terrace, are “half spaces” that complete themselves in campus and city views. The last large space, the Sky Court, completes itself above, projecting light and air into a field of small-scaled work spaces and providing access to the Solar Garden on the roof. The adjacent tower overlooks Garden and Court.
The dense stack of large and extra-large spaces characterizes the project – each is legible as a powerful interior space, registering identity, becoming topographic, terraced and open…welcoming the campus community.
The entrance to the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport is located at the south end of the site, accessible from both Devonshire Place, and the laneway to the west. The Sports Bowl is dug into the earth, approached from the lobby above and surrounded by venue seating. During daily use, the courts are overlooked by both street and lane, becoming part of the experience of campus life, a recognizable ‘place’ on campus. A linear gallery space off the entrance lobby provides for casual meetings /computer bar /events and receptions, the gallery affording a fantastic overlook of Sports Bowl events below. During televised major events, motorized black-out blinds block all daylight and overview.
Practice operational scenarios for both basketball and volleyball (and the implications of these scenarios on project coTo address the diversity of competition and pst and constructability), three alternate Sports Bowl floor plans have been developed for consideration. The first alternate plan is a full 360 degree surround seating arrangement which maximizes spectator engagement during competition events. This alternate is unconventional in that it overlays competition and practice courts to minimize floor area and consequent construction cost. It reduces constructability challenges by avoiding construction below the adjacent proposed tower. To avoid conflict between competition and practice game lines, practice lines are described by LED lighting strips let into the hardwood floor These strips can be turned on and off. The second alternate plan retains the full 360 degree surround seating arrangement. It maximizes spectator engagement during competition events but locates a practice court under the adjacent proposed tower. The third alternate plan places competition and practice courts side-by-side as anticipated in the Request for Proposal.
Goldring structure 01
The lobby of the Students Commons is a terraced, wooden hill. This space serves as an XL hang-out space for students to see and be seen; it serves as events space, casual theatre, music and film venue and dining and relaxation space. It welcomes students to the Student Commons and connects the food court with the largest rooms – the multi-purpose and rehearsal spaces. All of these spaces can act together at times to provide a huge, new, flexible indoor student venue on the U of T campus. For special events and parties the food court can become a catered dining area, the multi-purpose space and the rehearsal space can be joined to produce a huge flat floor, while the hill provides for individual and group gathering and relaxation space. On a daily basis, smaller events might be scattered at the base of the hill and on the terraces, providing casual space for musicians or film. Student markets can take over the edges of the hill, using ledges as “display space”. Together these spaces can be used in a great variety of ways to support daily student activities and special events.
The Commons Hill provides a strong new student identity on campus, a memorable place, unique and identifiably belonging to the U of T.
Goldring structure 02
Strength and Conditioning Terrace
The Strength and Conditioning Terrace and the Exercise Studio are adjacent, separated by glass but visually connected. These two spaces start with a flat platform for general exercise and conditioning programs and then step down a series of terraces towards Varsity Stadium. Platform and terraces project visually out over Varsity Field, completing themselves in the city, providing a mesmerizing view. The diagonal of the terraces produces a kind of stadium seating overlooking the ever-changing activities on the field below. Earphones attached to exercise stations allow for participation in games below while working out. Sports training films turn the terraces into theatre.
This space is highly visible to the U of T campus and to the passing public on Bloor Street. It produces a distinctive sports identity fixing the precinct of Varsity Stadium and the Goldring Centre in the public imagination day and night.
Goldring structure 03
The Sky Court is a space that is internal to the Goldring Centre. It opens up deep floors of offices and labs to light and air above and attaches all to outdoor green space on the roof. The staff lounge/VIP/media room edges the Sky Court with its small terrace of lounge spaces leading to the roof garden. Together these spaces encourage the social, they receive visitors, provide a space for celebrations, meetings, interaction between disciplines, general relaxation and serendipitous occasion. A green wall refreshes the space, suggesting, along with the skylights above, a sense of the outdoors.
Wherever possible, the spaces of the Goldring Centre & U of T Student Commons have been visually, if not physically, interconnected …both internally to each other and to the campus.
The sum total of this interconnectivity constructs a vital and energized identity for the whole. Students entering the Commons pass by events in the Sports Bowl below. Hanging out along the lane, parking bicycles, working on the computer, partying with friends, practicing in the gym, having lunch in the food court….activities are overlapped and opened to one another to create a dense and complex sense of place. Major spaces gather together to occupy the maximum connected floor area, stretching from light to light across a deep floor plate, stretching from street to lane horizontally. The city, the street, the campus, the Goldring Centre & U of T Student Commons and all the diverse activities and spaces are projected into each other, making for a new kind of vital, engaged space on campus.
Goldring structure 04
Broadly, the structure for the proposed Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport consists of a structural steel frame on concrete foundations. The steel frame supports a deck of SPS (Steel-Polyurethane-Steel) panels. Large multi-storey deep trusses span from north to south to achieve the large clear span required over the stadium.
For this project, long spans, large transfers and double and high spaces make the use of cast-in-place concrete impractical, requiring a panellized system.
The proposed deck for this structure consists of SPS panels called the “Sandwich Plate System” which are panels made up of three layers; steel on top, a solid urethane core, and steel on bottom.
Proof of concept modelling was based on the traditional system of hollow core precast slabs supported on the steel frame. The SPS system offers the advantage over hollow core, of a dramatic reduction in weight; less than one third that of hollow core precast. In a building where trusses span more than 60 m supporting multiple storeys of occupancy the impact of the weight reduction results in a significant savings in overall steel tonnage.
A further advantage is construction time. SPS panels are flat, smooth and finish ready. The panels are not cambered and need no topping resulting in very fast erection.
The steel frame for the tower consists of a very regular grid, roughly 6600 by 6900 with beams running north-south supporting SPS panels spanning east-west.
Beams are supported on columns or hangers, propped or hung from large multi-storey deep trusses spanning north south to the exterior walls. The multi-storey deep trusses have been configured to accommodate building program. Typically diagonal web elements skip storeys, so that on a given storey only about half of the bays of any truss are affected by web members.
Beam elements, truss chords and most webs are conventional hot rolled structural steel. Because of the heavy loads resulting from the long spans, some of the webs and the end columns are typically built-up from steel plate.
Foundations for the five storey deep basement consist of cast in place concrete perimeter walls. Walls are cast directly against shoring; either soldier piles and lagging or a caisson wall depending on the proximity of adjacent structures. Shoring will be supported either by rakers or tie backs as appropriate based on context.
Based on our knowledge of the soil from near by sites, we expect that the basement elevation, roughly 20 m below grade, lies in a zone of stiff silty clay. Along the east and west walls, which are relatively lightly loaded, conventional eccentric spread footings are likely adequate to support the wall loads. The north and south walls are very heavily loaded and will require a different approach; possibly deeper end wall footings taken to rock or a local raft slab.
The foundations walls, roughly 10 m deep from the ground floor to the court level, are braced at the balcony level by the balcony slab acting as a large horizontal whaler beam cantilevering out of the wall.
The ground floor diaphragm around the perimeter, which is suspended from the second floor above, also braces the top of the foundation walls.
Lateral Load Resisting Systems
In the east-west direction, lateral loads are resisted in a very straightforward manner by the braced steel frame walls at the north and south end of the building.
In the north south direction, truss webs effectively transfer lateral loads from storey to storey all the way to the ground. Floor diaphragms move the shear from truss line to truss line, resolving it into the foundation walls at the two exterior trusses at the ground level.
Because all of the lateral loads are resolved by the truss webs, the stair and elevator cores do not contribute to the lateral load resistance of the building. This provides the flexibility of storey offsets and discontinuity of shafts made necessary by the program.
Lighting throughout the facility will utilize energy efficient lamps and ballasts to provide the maximum illumination levels with consideration for lower lighting power density.
Linear luminaires with T5 HO fluorescent lamps will be recessed in the ceiling over the basketball courts and spectators. Lighting for the basketball court will be strategically placed to limit glare for players, spectators, television cameras and on scoreboards. Vertical lux for televised events will be achieved by floodlights located at the sides of the court. The floodlights will be clamped to a support structure at the ceiling level and connected to outlets in the ceiling. The outlets may also be used for connecting specialty lighting during other functions. Multiple switching arrangements through a lighting control system will ensure even illumination for various levels of competition: 100 fc will be the design criteria for college and professional or televised events; 80 fc for amateur league play, 50 fc for training or recreational events and 30 fc for social events and for worklights.
Lighting in the strength and conditioning area will be linear fluorescent, positioned for the comfort of individuals and to minimize glare on equipment monitors. Sensors will harvest the daylight through dimming ballasts to ensure even levels of illumination throughout.
Compact fluorescent downlights in the student commons area will provide minimum ambient illumination with higher levels for gathering, reading and studying. Areas receiving daylighting will be controlled by sensors dimming the ballasts. LED lighting on the steps and in the seating areas will contribute to the dynamic student atmosphere. Areas receiving daylighting will be controlled by sensors dimming the ballasts.
Administration area lighting will be controlled by occupancy sensors, with daylighting sensors dimming the lighting near windows. Direct/indirect pendant luminaires will allow visual comfort in the office areas.
1. Green roof minimizes heat island effect and reduces storm water run off. Provides open space for occupants
2. North facing skylights admit diffuse daylight into core of building
3. South facing PVs generate electricity for building use; all generated electricity benefits from ‘feed-in-tarrif’ going to grid or building
4. Solar thermal panels potentially provide building’s hot water needs
5. High performance building envelope comprising R20 walls and R20 roof, R12 spandrels and clear high performance glazing with enhanced thermal break
6. Vegetated aluminum grille provides shade in summer to reduce solar gains; daylight and thermal gains maximized during winter
7. Rain water harvested from green roof and planters used for irrigation and flushing toilets/urinals; storm water runoff and potable water consumption reduced
8. Dual flush toilets, pint flush urinals and ultra low flow faucets/showers achieve >40% water savings
9. potential natural ventilation shaft, mechanically assisted by return fan for primary mechanical system
10. Demand control ventilation for low occupancy rooms adjusts number of air changes based on CO2 Sensors
11. Occupancy and daylight sensors control levels of artificial light and reduces enrgy consumption
12. Energy recovery wheels in the air handling systems reclaim energy typically lost to atmosphere through building exhuast air
The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport mechanical systems will include an energy efficient chilled water plant to satisfy building cooling needs and utilize the University of Toronto’s central steam and condensate distribution system for building heating demands. Water-side and air-side free cooling will be included where applicable throughout the HVAC systems in order to reduce energy consumption. Both the heating and cooling plants will employ variable flow pumping systems with variable frequency drives to reduce electrical demand and power consumption by slowing down the pump motor to better match the device output to the connected load. Air handling systems will be coupled to air-side heat recovery devices to reclaim exhaust air energy typically lost to the atmosphere and to minimize the energy used to heat the large amounts of incoming ventilation air associated with athletic and spectator facilities. Natural ventilation strategies for atrium spaces will be investigated, allowing the air handling systems to be shut down when outdoor air conditions permit. Displacement type air distribution will be investigated for some areas of the new building with the remaining spaces served through conventional overhead systems. Shower drain heat recovery systems will be applied to pre-treat cold water prior to entering the domestic hot water heating tanks where the use of solar thermal domestic hot water heating will be investigated. Potable water usage will be reduced through the use of low flow shower heads and lavatories along with a rainwater collection cistern and distributed grey water system to serve the urinals and water closets.