Here’s what OCAD U wants to do to its offices at Dundas and McCaul

Here’s what OCAD U wants to do to its offices at Dundas and McCaul

(Image: courtesy of Bortolotto)

What it is: A major renovation of OCAD U’s Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, on the southeast corner of Dundas and McCaul streets. The building, currently offices, would be transformed into a study and exhibition space with street-facing LED displays to project student artwork out through its windows.

Pedigree: The architect is Bortolotto, a firm that has done a lot of post-secondary and institutional work. Its past clients include U of T and the City of Toronto.

Most promising feature: The existing building has a blank, conventional façade that doesn’t add much to the corner. This design, with its curving, patterned aluminum exterior, seems as though it would do a much better job of complementing the two architectural landmarks across the street: Will Alsop’s Sharp Centre for Design and Frank Gehry’s Art Gallery of Ontario.

Risk factor: Like a lot of post-secondary capital projects, this one is being funded by donations. Rosalie and Isadore Sharp have already put up $3 million toward the estimated $6 million in costs, but OCAD U is still in the process of raising money.

Likely opposition: It’s hard to imagine there being much resistance to this project, because it’s not interfering with anything people are likely to miss. The existing structure doesn’t look great and has no real civic importance beyond the bike racks underneath its colonnade.

The odds: Getting variances and permits from the city should be no problem, since the design makes use of the existing structure and doesn’t add much height or density. If the university wants this to happen, it will happen.