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by Julianna Cummings

Ryerson University has picked the architecture team to design the Student Learning Centre (SLC), a building president Sheldon Levy said will help Ryerson shake it’s commuter-campus reputation.

The SLC, to be built on the former site of Sam the Record Man at the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets, will be designed by Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto and Snohetta of Oslo.

“It can be . . . a place where students can feel comfortable in using their technology, and would rather be there and study there than take the TTC and study at home,” Levy said.

In addition to serving as an academic hub with an emphasis on technology, the SLC will also focus on student space and will feature retail space on the ground level. Access to Dundas subway station may also be a possibility.

A key part in the decision to go with this team, said Levy, was their understanding how to make a library designed in 2010 adaptable to the needs of a library 20 years from now.

“They’ve shown the ability that their libraries were really creations of the forever,” said Levy.

He said the Bibilotecha Alexandria in Egypt was one of his favourite buildings designed by Snohetta, which features four art galleries, an Internet archive and eight academic research centres. Tarek El-Khatib, a senior partner of Zeilder Partnership Architects, said he was attracted to the project for the chance to look at how to take a university’s library in different directions.

“It’s probably the most interesting project going on in Toronto right now,” El-Khatib said.

While there are no renderings yet, Levy said the partner’s history of innovative design will ensure a striking — and perhaps controversial — building for Ryerson’s face on Yonge.

“You can’t go around in life trying to find the one object that everyone will like, because it will end up like arrowroot cookies,” said Levy, explaining that he doesn’t want to cater to everyone.

Zeidler was alsothe architect for the Ted Rogers School of Management.

Craig Dykers, the co-founder and principal architect of Snohetta, said the firm spent a few hours at the corner of Yonge and Gould streets before their interview for the project, asking those passing by about what they would like to see there. ;“They want something fresh — they don’t want something that is sort of a standard block of a building. So there’s very strong desire to make it a lively building,” Dykers said.

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