An outdated building reimagined as a dynamic campus gateway, welcomes students into the world of art and design.
Part of a campus of buildings belonging to the OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) University, the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion occupies a prominent site in downtown Toronto at the corner of Dundas and McCaul Streets, directly across from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).
In direct response to the client brief, the architects have a designed a landmark building that functions as a dynamic, interactive northern gateway into the McCaul Street campus corridor, reflecting the scale, massing and form of the urban context while further entrenching the distinctive brand of OCAD U.
The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion is wrapped in a perforated stainless-steel scrim and operates in a wholly innovative gesture. The scrim’s laser-cut dynamic pattern represents a data visualization mapping of Toronto, overlaid as a layered re-interpretation of the City, highlighting art and design institutions, public art installations and pockets of artist communities. The lacy façade gently peels away from the edges of the building, attracting passersby with its intricate form and compelling patterns and animating the street with views to students creating their art and design work inside.
The addition of the Pavilion to the OCAD U campus and neighbourhood represents a sensitive and contextually responsive gesture that helps knit the community together architecturally, advancing social cohesion and dynamism. Characterized by a successful and harmonious integration of institutional, cultural, retail, and residential uses, this community provides an enriched urban experience for those who live, work and study here. As a highly visible and expressive building signaling arrival on the campus, this project brings coherence to the neighbourhood, activating and enlivening the streetscape and heightening OCAD U’s identity. It is a perfect complement to the numerous commercial galleries on the north side of Dundas Street, and in adopting an exterior expression that defers to that begun by Gehry’s remaking of the AGO, it manifests a consistent architectural vocabulary along the south side of Dundas Street, conveying an impression of seamless continuity.
The project comprises a complete renovation and revisioning of an existing building that formerly housed administrative offices into an efficient, student-centric and largely open-concept plan. Existing mechanical and electrical systems were retrofitted in adherence to a stringent sustainability mandate, including upgrades to a new, high-performance insulated envelope and cladding system. The interior conveys a raw, industrial aesthetic through a material palette of concrete, masonry, glass and steel, and features studios along with exhibition, meeting and event spaces to expand digital and work-integrated learning.
The reimagining and reshaping of the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion both inside and out represents a significant advancement in OCAD U’s continuing expansion in and gradual transformation of this important arts, education and cultural precinct, reinforcing its unique position as Canada’s “university of the imagination.”
press + awards
Bortolotto Architects broadcasts Toronto’s art scene with data-driven steel map facade.
The Architect's Newspaper, April, 2021
Bortolotto Crafts a Sinuous New Gateway to Toronto’s OCAD University,
The Rosalie Sharp Pavilion
Azure Magazine, February, 2021
Screen Art: Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, OCAD
The Canadian Architect, February, 2021
Renovations Wrapping Up at OCAD U's Rosalie Sharp Pavilion
Urban Toronto, August 2019
Bortolotto Unveils Design for Rosalie Sharp Pavilion in Toronto
Archdaily, June 21, 2015
OCAD U creating gateway to downtown Toronto Campus
Daily Commercial News, June 10, 2015
Metal, Mesh, and Mosaics: Transforming Walls and Envelopes Digitally
Diandra Cohen, Architizer, June 5, 2015
Bortolotto designs interactive gateway to the
Ontario College of Art and Design University
Canadian Architect, June 2, 2015
'Visual Gateway' into the Future
MetroNews, page 12, June 2, 2015
Gorgeous new pavilion coming to OCAD University
Derek Flack, BlogTO, June 1, 2015
Rosalie Sharp Pavilion to Act as Gateway to OCAD University
Marcus Mitanis, Urban Toronto, May 29, 2015
Here's what OCAD U wants to do to its offices at Dundas and McCaul
Steve Kupferman, Toronto Life, May 28, 2015
Bortolotto Architect selected to renovate OCAD U
Canadian Architect, July 21, 2014