The New College Residence of University of Toronto is intended to be a meeting place, a venue for the exchanging of ideas within both an academic and urban setting.
The organization of the architectural elements reflects the relationship of the student community with its surrounding urban campus environment. The lower levels become a gathering place for the community at large. Raised above the street, the mezzanine level contains the administration offices and reception and provides access to the residences above and the ground floor below. The versatile ground floor provides a theatre for public performances along with quiet study halls for the large student population.
Two unique hanging gardens promote the well-being of student life on campus. On Spadina Avenue, a wall of large perforated masonry plates floats above the transparent mezzanine level. This brick volume is complimented by a zinc and glass-clad volume which contains the East Garden and faces the St. George Campus. This three-storey space is a place of repose as well as an exterior community room available to all residents.
Connected by an interior stairwell, the West Garden is carved out of the brick facade at the northern end from the fifth to the eighth floors. This allows the evening sun to stream through the glass façade at the back of the garden and into the common areas behind.
The seven floors of residences create a community atmosphere intended to provide both a sense of home and the opportunity for social interaction. All common areas are co-ed and are located in the central circulation area between the two main volumes.