Ryerson University of Toronto, Canada, has just released the design for its new Centre for Urban Innovation (CUI), a facility dedicated to tackling urban infrastructure challenges.

The CUI will act as a hub for research, incubation and commercialization. As a center for urban innovation, it will unite faculty and students specializing in urban energy, transportation, infrastructure, logistics, urban water, data analytics and food/nutrition.

Architectural firm Moriyama & Teshima Architects (MTA) was tapped to bring the school’s vision to life. As an award-winning Canadian firm, MTA specializes in civic, cultural and educational buildings.

Ryerson University “is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-focused education and a university clearly on the move. It is a distinctly urban university with a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community,” as stated on their social media.

Aerial view of the Centre for Urban Innovation (source: ryerson.ca via Moriyama & Teshima Architects)

Aerial View of the Centre for Urban Innovation (Source: Moriyama & Teshima Architects)

The CUI site has an interesting past. Constructed in 1886, it served as the first Canadian school of pharmacy. At the time, it was the only teaching facility of its kind. Ryerson University obtained the property in 1963, which became home to the school’s architectural technology department and later its performance and journalism programs.

While preserving the historic, 3-story building, Moriyama & Teshima Architects firm has incorporated 2 new sections into the original structure, utilizing large windows, open spaces and green roofs. The CUI has also been designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification standards, making it a green building.

As communicated by Carol Phillips, lead MTA architect, the use of wood, metal and glass was chosen to highlight what the CUI represents: “efficiency, clarity and lightness in our use of energy and resources for sustainability and health.”

The new facility will provide 40,000 sq. ft. of workspace for researchers to tackle urban issues via food production, alternative energy, data analytics and water management.

It will house innovative research groups, including the Food Research Lab, the Centre for Urban Energy, the Data Science Laboratory and Ryerson Urban Water.

“The Centre for Urban Innovation will inspire transformational ideas and help them grow into the breakthroughs our world needs,” says Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance.

Through an investment of $19.8 million by the Canadian government (as well as $25.8 million from Ryerson), the CUI is headed by the university’s Project Management Office and Saher Fazilat, assistant vice-president, campus facilities and capital projects (CFCP) at Ryerson University.

The building is planned to open its doors in September 2018.