On January 11, the Daniels Faculty was pleased to host friends and family of Dr. Eberhard Zeidler (Hon. DArch 1989) and Mrs. Jane Zeidler (MA 1989) to recognize the couple’s remarkable philanthropy and investment in the University of Toronto.
Thanks to a generous gift from Eberhard and Jane, the Daniels Faculty has been able to make a significant investment in the revitalization of One Spadina Crescent and its new library and reading room, which have been named the Eberhard Zeidler Library and Zeidler Family Reading Room in their honour.
“I can say with confidence that this is now the most extensive and nicest library within a school of architecture in Canada,” said Dean Richard Sommer at the celebratory event.
The new Eberhad Zeidler Library in the Daniels Building is part of the University of Toronto Library system, which is the largest in Canada and third-largest in North America, after Harvard and Yale. With resources in both analog and digital, it features more than 37,000 volumes — including periodicals and journals, as well as maps, drawings, and manuscripts — that focus on contemporary architecture and design. There is also a dedicated space for the Faculty’s treasured special collections.
“As Canada’s oldest and leading school of architecture in Canada, it was very important to create an inspiring physical space for our collections embedded within our new school,” said Dean Sommer. “Though the study and practice of architecture has changed significantly, books and the spaces that contain them still matter — maybe even more than before. Architecture requires the study of precedents and traditions to inform, challenge, and advance the discipline and, alongside buildings and landscapes, books embody and preserve certain histories”
Photos 1 & 4 by John Horner; Photos 2 & 3 by Nic Lehoux
The Zeidler Family Reading Room provides a quiet place for reflection and study in what was once the refectory of the Knox College Theological Seminary, built in 1875. Thanks to Eberhard and Jane’s generosity, the Daniels Faculty has been able to extend the public hours into the evening and remain open 24/7 for its students. Members of the surrounding community and design professionals are regulars here, inspiring the Faculty to explore ways to build on these learning and enrichment opportunities with the new Daniels Building.
“Well before the dedication of these spaces, the name and influence of Eberhard Zeidler was firmly ensconced in the school’s history, as it is in this city and country,” said Dean Sommer. An internationally recognized architect, Dr. Zeidler is well known in Toronto and beyond for designing the Toronto Eaton’s Centre and Ontario Place, among other prominent sites. “Together, Eb and Jane have been a consistent highly-engaged and supportive presence at the school over many years, attending design reviews, critiques, public lectures, and symposia.”
The couple’s previous gifts include the establishment of the Eberhard Zeidler Scholarship which provides essential support to our students. As philanthropists to the University of Toronto, their benevolence includes investments in the visual arts and early childhood development.
Eberhard received an honorary Doctor of Architecture from the University of Toronto in 1989, following many years of professional practice and teaching in the University of Toronto’s architecture program, first as a visiting lecturer and critic, and then as an Adjunct Professor from 1983 to 1995. Jane attained a Master of Arts degree in Art History from U of T in 1989.
Architecture, design, and the art of cities is a family affair. Daughter, Margie, is a respected alumna of the Daniels Faculty, receiving her Bachelor of Architecture degree from U of T in 1987. Their other children, Robert, Kate, and Christina have made their own contributions to the built environment and civic life.
To mark the occasion, guests at the January 11 celebratory event were invited to sign a copy of Dr. Zeidler’s recent book Buildings, Cities, Life. A copy of this book with its dedications will be proudly displayed in the Eberhard Zeidler Library’s collections.