PCL Seminar Room

Big Changes, Small Spaces

The PCL Seminar Room for the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto proposes a never used before baked porcelain wall system that functions to neutralize the indifferent window wall and provide degrees of black-out for ideal projection.  It experiments with models of display and course delivery as a convertible, magnetic dry-erase surface.

PCL Seminar Room was awarded the Canadian Interiors Best of Canada Award.

The PCL Seminar Room is located on a low, quasi-mezzanine level of the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design and spans a narrow hovering space between the school’s main foyer and the City’s College Street. This privileged position gave rise to a design solution that aspires to selectively collapse or separate these two public spaces vis-a-vis an innovative magnetic porcelain convertible wall system. Combined with alternative surfaces for digital projection, including the solarfective shaded bay window to the main foyer, the kinetic wall/ceiling system is designed to foster endless display/course delivery scenarios, while selectively controlling “contamination” from both the city outside, and the activity from the school’s main entrance below. Six solid elm training tables were custom designed to fit the oblong proportions of the room and give rise to a variety of collective scenarios — from exam writing to group discussions.

In collaboration with Architectural School Products, the system was tailored into bands of magnetic, writable baked porcelain hinged between translucent glass panels and backed with pinable Forbo corkboard. Although quite unorthodox, the entire wall/ceiling system was designed to mask the exterior window wall as well as (for a portion of the room) lower an already low ceiling height. The result is a theatrical effect whose proscenium amplified the voice of the presenter while promoting a variety of display scenarios and selectively including or excluding views, light and air to and from the City. Equipped with magnets and grommets to receive hooks and shelf/model supports and rotating pinable panels, combined with a continuous dry-erase surface, the exhibiting/demo scenarios are endless.

Project Facts

  • Client

    University of Toronto

  • Location

    Toronto, Ontario

  • Size

    2,000 sq.ft.

  • Status


  • Sub-Consultant Team

    Structural — Yolles Partnership

    Electrical — Enso Systems Inc.

    Mechanical — Enso Systems Inc.

  • Photography

    Richard Johnson