Glendon’s Centre of Excellence wins a 2013 Toronto Urban Design Award

The Centre of Excellence at York University’s Glendon campus has won a 2013 Toronto Urban Design Award.

The centre, which officially opened May 15, 2012, has enabled Glendon to broaden its range of programs and courses in response to the urgent need for increased postsecondary offerings in French in southern Ontario. The centre’s development was supported by a $20-million investment by the Government of Ontario. The expansion project was built on Glendon’s existing facilities and includes more than one dozen new glendonVclassrooms and lecture spaces, state-of-the art language labs, open study spaces and a 250-seat amphitheatre.

The Centre of Excellence at York University’s Glendon campus 

The Centre for Excellence has a fully equipped interpretation lab and training facility, five lecture halls with tiered seating, seminar rooms with LCD projectors and screens, a student cafe, meeting areas, a large art studio, and a rooftop terrace. The facility is approximately 55,000 sq. ft, including both newly added and renovated space.

The historic Glendon campus presented a challenge to architectural firm Daoust Lestage, selected to lead the construction of the new building. Managing for York University was the Campus Services & Business Operations (CSBO) team. Accepting the Toronto Urban Design Award on behalf of York University were Kenneth McRoberts, principal of Glendon College, and Richard Francki, assistant vice-president, CSBO.

The company successfully merged the historic buildings with the sleek, new glass walled building. In their decision to award the prize, the jury wrote: “The Glendon Campus has emerged from its reclusive ravine setting of dense forest at Bayview and Lawrence Avenues. The new transparent glass addition to the original red brick campus dramatically alters the first impression of the Francophone component of York University and creates a distinctive arrival pavilion and a desirable axial termination to Lawrence Avenue. Interior stairs act as vertical beacons on the exterior, and student spaces pushed to the perimeter animate and soak in the dense greenery of the site. This is a skillful handling of a top of ravine site, creating a new threshold and sense of arrival, while maintaining the proximity and presence of the forest.”

CentreofExcellence2Pictured  second from the right are Kenneth McRoberts and Richard Francki (far right) at the Toronto Urban Design Awards ceremony

The improvements mean that Glendon is now a preeminent provider of French-language higher education for Francophone learners in Southern Ontario, as well as Anglophone students seeking to study in French. New programs housed in the centre include:

  • Bilingual and trilingual international Bachelor of Arts (iBA) degrees available across 18 disciplines.
  • New doctoral program in Études francophones.
  • Enhanced bilingual activities outside the classroom.
  • A master’s program in conference interpretation.
  • A unique, direct-entry Bachelor of Education for future French teachers available at the primary-junior, junior-intermediate, and intermediate-senior levels, offered through York’s Faculty of Education.
  • Collaboration with Collège Boréal and la Cité collégiale.

In 2012, the Glendon campus and the Centre of Excellence were featured in the June issue AWARD magazine.