Parkside Student Residence

  • area / size 190,000 sqft
  • Completed 2015
  • Location Toronto, Canada,
  • Diamond Schmitt Architects has transformed a former hotel space into the Parkside Student Residence which is now home to students of multiple universities located in Toronto, Canada.

    Students learn from their fellow students as much as they do from the classroom and typically this occurs in informal, collaborative environments. A cold climate consideration is to provide sufficient indoor space as most of the school year is winter. The challenge is to not over-design them; they should happen organically and with enough flexibility that the students can configure them to suit their activity. These ‘in-between’ spaces become part of an evolving pedagogy that coincides seamlessly with current collaborative learning spaces.

    The ground floor includes the main reception, a gathering place that is part open lounge, part study hall, complete with a fireplace, a games lounge, bicycle storage and printing room. Contemporary furnishings enhance this versatility for both public and intimate gathering.

    A new slab opening creates a double-height atrium connection. Removing precast concrete panels on the second floor volume creates a glass enclosure that floats above the sidewalk and reveals an expansive open student lounge with a bold interior of wood finishes and red accents. The hub of Parkside has a gym, kitchen, glass-walled meeting and reading room, all bathed in natural light.

    A tactile and minimalist approach to finishes contrasts the rough exposed structure with the softness of natural wood and textiles. Color is used as a repeating element throughout accent walls, custom millwork, selected furnishings and sound attenuation treatment. The carpet pattern evokes the aesthetic of concrete in a softer rendition.

    The high-ceiling basement now has an open floor plan to accommodate the dining room and servery. Acoustic panels and recessed lighting create a cohesive environment for this high traffic area and a large-scale stylized map of Toronto adds visual interest.

    Each floor has 14 two-bedroom suites with shared common area and bathroom, two single bedrooms, and one double bedroom. Amenity spaces rotate from floor to floor and include kitchens, reading lounges, meditation rooms, gaming rooms, and fitness/yoga rooms. Durable materials and custom fixtures set the stage for a secure environment in which to live, work, and relax.

    In the summer of 2018, a 23-storey mural was unveiled on the former blank east façade of the building. Equilibrium by Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel references the cultural make-up of the area and includes many of his signature moves.

    ArchitectDiamond Schmitt Architects
    Architect Team: Don Schmitt, Aleksandra Janus, Gary Watson, John Kim, Stephanie Huss
    Interior Design: Bryan Chartier
    Photography: Lisa LoganSharon Mendonca