A grand total of 8,213 people visited One Spadina May 27 & 28 during Doors Open Toronto. The event offered the public an early look at the Daniels Faculty’s new home as it nears completion.
The site “was one of this year's popular destinations,” reported Urban Toronto. “Photographers and urban enthusiasts were drawn to the NADAAA- and Adamson Associates-designed facility for views of its juxtaposition of restored heritage and modern design.” Heritage architects ERA were responsible for the renewal of the original building, while the firm Public Work are the project’s landscape architects.
Globe and Mail architecture critic Alex Bozikovic reviewed the nearly complete Daniels Building earlier in the month, calling it "one of the best Canadian buildings of the past decade." It is "spectacular," he says, "rich with arguments about how contemporary architecture, landscape, and urbanism can work with history and build the city of the future."
The CBC was among the visitors on May 28th, interviewing Dean Richard Sommer in the third floor Graduate Design Studio for the evening news.
Many people who participated in the weekend event were interested in the history of the building. The original cloister, designed by the firm of Smith & Gemmel for Knox College, was constructed in 1875. During World War One, it was a military hospital where Amelia Earhart volunteered at the time.
In the 1940s, One Spadina was home to Connaught Laboratories, where insulin was produced. Sandy MacPherson (pictured above, with Linda Tu) found the office where his father worked in those days. He remembered visiting him there as a child. The space is now part of the Office of the Registrar and Student Services.
Many Daniels Faculty alumni also came by for a first look of the new building, and were welcomed in an alumni lounge set up for the event. Nazila Atarodi (MUD 2008) generously volunteered her time to meet and greet graduates of the Faculty over the weekend.
An exhibition of graduate student work was also on display throughout the building. Produced by an exhibition team that included students Brandon Bergem, Katerina Gloushenkova, and Serafima Korovina, with Faculty Advisor Assistant Professor Jeannie Kim, the exhibition showed the breadth of creative questions and research topics our students tackle to address the many design challenges we face in our shared quest to make a better world.
Classes at One Spadina are set to start in September. The building will officially open in the fall.