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