The leading-edge Lawson Centre for Sustainability will respond to the long-term need for additional space at Trinity College. The four-storey hybrid mass timber and concrete structure, clad in local brick and limestone, will add 155,000 square feet (14,450 m2) of mixed-used facilities, including student residences, as well as academic, community and dining spaces.
The building will push the established capabilities of sustainability—fundamental to the project’s design, construction and future operations—and will serve as a platform for the College’s ambitious new Integrated Sustainability Initiative, placing sustainability at the forefront of teaching and research.
Located in the heart of the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus, the site of the Lawson Centre for Sustainability is directly adjacent to Devonshire Place to the west, Varsity Stadium to the north, Philosopher’s Walk to the east and the Trinity College campus to the south. The low-rise T-shaped building will be situated on the former parking lot and the north edge of the field north of Trinity College (6 Hoskin Ave). It will provide direct, indoor connections to the George Ignatieff Theatre and Gerald Larkin Building, with access points and pathways to better connect the Lawson Centre for Sustainability to the rest of the Trinity campus and the greater U of T campus. It will also connect underground to the main Trinity College building (6 Hoskin Ave.), allowing all site loading to relocate to the north edge of the College’s campus and the future pedestrianization of the Trinity campus.
Addressing a range of student and community needs, the Lawson Centre for Sustainability will add approximately 350 residence beds in various types of accommodation, including single and double rooms as well as suites—a high portion of which are designed as barrier-free. The new building also includes designated residence lounges with full kitchens in each wing, as well as multi-purpose study and activity spaces. All residence areas of the building will be secured with key-fob controlled access.
The Lawson Centre for Sustainability will contribute to the teaching and event spaces on Trinity’s campus, including seminar- and lecture-style classrooms, shared-use meeting rooms, office spaces, as well as a top-floor marquis event and conference pavilion, complete with an outdoor terrace and an unparalleled view of the downtown Toronto skyline. The new building also provides state-of-the-art areas for experiential learning including the Community Kitchen and the George and Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm.
Generous common/shared facilities in the new building will foster a sense of belonging and promote the well-being of our community members. Throughout the building there are a variety of formal and informal seating and study areas. The Lawson Centre for Sustainability will also provide new food services to the Trinity campus, including a full-service dining facility for residents, students and the wider Trinity community, as well as an industrial kitchen, which will service new and existing dining operations at the College.
With plenty of outdoor multi-use areas, including two courtyards, the Lawson Centre for Sustainability will reintegrate the North Field into the heart of campus life, creating an open green space that can be used for a variety of activities—from pick-up sports games to tossing a frisbee. Both the Community Kitchen and the George and Martha Butterfield Rooftop Farm will provide integral platforms for community programming and partnership.
Accessible design is fundamental to the Lawson Centre for Sustainability: all publicly accessible learning, community, outdoor and residence spaces are designed in accordance with accessibility requirements for users of all abilities. The redesign of the Devonshire Place streetscape and central axis of Trinity campus allows for greater accessibility to the campus as a whole, including an accessible vehicular drop-off zone at the main building entrance on Devonshire Place. The main entrance will house the College’s new Welcome Desk, which will be staffed 24/7. Building wayfinding and signage will likewise include accommodation for visual impairment, with plans to extend this to the broader Trinity campus. Plus, universal washroom facilities and all-gender washrooms will be found in both public and residence areas of the new building. Click here for more information about campus accessibility during construction.
The Lawson Centre for Sustainability is fundamental to Trinity’s vision and ethos: to be a leader in sustainable education and practices, placing sustainability at the forefront of all we do. Interfacing with campus life and curriculum renewal, sustainability is also integrated into the building itself: the Lawson Centre for Sustainability’s ambitious targets include internationally recognized LEED Platinum Certification and certification under the Canadian Green Building Council Zero Carbon Building Standard. Click here for a comprehensive list of the sustainability features of our new facility.