Behold, UofT’s new law school

Behold, UofT’s new law school:

By Jim Middlemiss, National Post
When Toronto architect Siamak Hariri was looking for inspiration in designing a law school, he visited the esteemed campuses of Yale and Harvard, along with Columbia University and New York University, some of the top legal institutions in the U.S.
The research bore fruit, as his design was picked over two other firms today, in the bid to build the University of Toronto’s new $60-million law school.
“It feels terrific. I am truly honoured,” said Mr. Hariri — an architect at Hariri Pontarini in Toronto.
“We did an East Coast (trip) and said, ‘This has to be better,’” Mr. Hariri said, adding everywhere he visited, there was a “huge amount of respect coming back for (the University of Toronto) law school. What we tried to do was give expression to what makes a great law school.”
What struck him about Yale, he said, was the importance of having a “great reading room,” and fitting in with the design of the campus. At Harvard he took note of the central meeting  place, “where people would bump into each other.”
Those important features play prominently in the stunning triangular, five-storey structure he has designed.
Central to the building is what he calls the forum, where students can mix and mingle. As well, the existing Bora Laskin Library, named after Canada’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice, will receive a much-needed face lift and become incorporated into the redesign of the law school’s space. The new building will feature computing facilities, a reading room and places for quiet study.
Law School dean Mayo Moran said “there were a number of things people loved about this design.” One of the most important, she said, is the way it blends into Philosopher’s Walk, the weaving pathway located behind the existing school. As well, it incorporates into the design Flavelle House, the existing “mansion” that currently houses part of the law school.
Mr. Hariri said the design incorporates 100,000 sq. ft of existing space and introduces another 100,000 sq. ft of new space. There is also a roof garden.
Ms. Moran said her job now is to go out and raise the $60 to $80-million it will cost to build. She’s already got a head start on that, thanks to a $7.5-million donation from David Asper, executive vice-president of CanWest Global Communications Corp., who recently completed a master of law degree there. The money will be used to create Canada’s first centre to study constitutional law. Half of the funds will go to the building fund to create space in the school for the centre.

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