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MaRS Centre | College Wing and South Tower

July 2005 , Toronto, Ontario
Architect: Adamson Associates Architects
Client: MaRS Discovery District
Categories: Institutional Renovation, Restoration and Retrofit Urban Redevelopment
About project
About project

The redevelopment of College Wing is a singular example of adaptive reuse. It features the preservation and enhancement of the salient heritage features of College Wing and its landscaped forecourt, while the glazed linkages, advanced technology infrastructure, and transformed interior spaces create a dynamic interactive environment. The Heritage Building is contained within the original brick façade of the old Toronto General Hospital and anchors the MaRS Centre. In 2000, the University Hospital Network decided to sell the historic building, a decision that galvanized the MaRS College of Founders into action and gave them the perfect location for their visionary, world-class convergence innovation complex. The elegant 100,000 square-foot heritage building features high ceilings, restored historical details, and an impressive entrance and reception area. Tenants in the restored building range from professional services and law firms to industry associations, multinational pharmaceutical companies, regional innovation networks and the satellite office of a leading Ontario research university

The entire MaRS Campus is linked above-grade by a four-storey, linear-glazed Atrium which connects the College Wing to the adjoining East, West and South Buildings. Below grade, a full retail concourse with direct connections to the subway and the University Health Network has been integrated into the design so that researchers, administrators, support staff and visitors can navigate through the entire block. To enhance the collaborative theme, Adamson provided MaRS with a unique solution to creating an interactive environment. Cantilevered pedestrian bridges accenting the south facade of the atrium serve as the main pedestrian circulation system above grade. The strategy of removing the main circulation corridor from the middle bay to the exterior allows for areas of spontaneous interaction between colleagues, increases the usable area within the heritage building, and accommodates large, more flexible office areas.

The Atrium provides multi-purpose space with approximately 5,000 sf for events such as receptions, media events, product launches, musical recitals, parties with bands and intimate gatherings. It has a maximum capacity for dinners and receptions for up to 500 people and is available to the public for rental. Between the Atrium and Max Bell building to the southeast, a landscaped courtyard provides a quiet respite for the facility’s users.

Location: Toronto, Ontario
Architect: Adamson Associates Architects
Client: MaRS Discovery District
Size: 375,000 sf / 34,840 sm
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Food Services icon
Food Services
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Retail Concourse icon
Retail Concourse
Completion: July 2005



Ontario Association of Architects’ Design Excellence Award


Canadian Urban Institute Urban Leadership Award


Heritage Toronto Award of Excellence for Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship


Intelligent Community Forum: Intelligent Building of the Year