Connect with us


Alison Brooks Architects wins job to revamp brutalist building at the University of Toronto



Alison Brooks Architects have been picked to redevelop a 1970s brutalist building in the University of Toronto in Canada. 

The firm has been selected by the university with Adamson Associates to revamp its 7,000 sq m Claude T. Bissell Building. 

University of Toronto_Bissell Building_Copyright Alison Brooks Architects

The scheme will deliver new design and research labs, collaborative work spaces and classrooms as well as a new entrance to the St George Campus of the university. 

>See also: Alison Brooks Architects scoops RIBA house of the year

>See also: Architects put on notice for design services framework

The building forms part of the university’s John P. Robarts Research Library complex, which was opened in 1973. The complex, which is 14-stories above ground and two-storeys below ground, is one of Toronto’s leading examples of brutalist architecture. 

University of Toronto exterior_Bissell Building_Copyright Alison Brooks Architects

Alison Brooks, founder and creative director at Alison Brooks Architects said: “The project will contribute to a more inclusive and accessible campus, enhance graduate and undergraduate exchange; demonstrate circularity and rigorously adapt, re-use and recycle our 1970s Brutalist heritage.”

”We’re inspired by the Bissell Building’s considerable artistic legacy which we will enhance and honour with our work.”

Alison Brooks Architects previous projects include ‘Exeter College Cohen Quad’ in Oxford which provides a living and study space for students and York Castle Museum. The Oxford project won RIBA South Building of the Year in 2022 and the RIBA South Regional Award of the same year. 

Project team

Design architect: Alison Brooks Architects

Executive architect: Adamson Associates

Indigenous architect: David T Fortin Architects

Client: University of Toronto

Sustainability, electrical, mechanical, structural, envelope, civics, transport, wind, fire protection: Arup 

Heritage architect: ERA Architect

Landscape architect: The Planning Partnership

Acoustics: HGC Engineering

Wayfinding: ENTRO Communications

Vertical transportation: Soberman Engineering

Code & accessibility: LMDG Consultants

Hardware: Upper Canada





Continue Reading