Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport
The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport is located on a tightly constrained infill site next to Varsity Stadium on the University of Toronto St George campus. Program includes a competition standard 2,000 seat basketball and volleyball venue; a large strength and conditioning centre for both general student and varsity athlete use; a sports medicine clinic and sports science research laboratories.
Open to Devonshire Place and highly visible to the campus and passing public on Bloor Street, the Goldring Centre supports and promotes health & wellness within the campus community and surrounding city; a recognizable ‘place’ on campus.
Located on a tightly constrained infill site next to Varsity Stadium on the downtown University of Toronto St George campus, the Goldring Centre is a 140,000 sq ft facility forming a new and vital hub for sports, research and therapy, serving both high performance varsity athletes and the wider campus community.
The core of the program is a pair of very large rooms: the Fieldhouse and the Strength and Conditioning Centre. The larger of these rooms is the Fieldhouse, which contains competition standard basketball and volleyball courts with seating for 2,000 spectators. The site is compact and the Fieldhouse is too large to fit within the permissible zoning envelope. The solution was to excavate and place the courts below grade, where they could occupy the full width of the site. To preserve the clear span required by the Fieldhouse, the Strength and Conditioning Centre and upper floors are suspended above from 180 ft long trusses. In overcoming the challenges posed by a constrained urban infill site, the project was rewarded with a singular public expression on the street: a heroic steel frame vaulting over a cavernous excavation.
At grade, the project builds on an existing net of small-scale pedestrian passages on campus. Through the north lobby an interior walk extends through the building from west to east connecting the existing landscape link between Woodsworth College and Woodsworth College Residence to Devonshire Place. On its western edge a new laneway between the project and Woodsworth College creates a quiet passage connecting the campus from Hoskin Ave in the south to Bloor Street. Trees are a mediating screen between the College and the Goldring Centre on the lower floors, continuing the campus language of linked, landscaped passages. The street landscape is designed as a plaza to host large-scale events that support both important sports gatherings and special student activities.
Floating above, and open to Devonshire place behind frameless cable-net glazing, is the Strength and Conditioning Centre. The SCC starts with a flat platform for general exercise and conditioning programs and then steps down a series of interior terraces towards Varsity Stadium. Platform and terraces project visually out over Varsity Field, completing themselves in the city, and providing a commanding view of the stadium beyond. The diagonal of the terraces produces a kind of stadium seating overlooking the activities on the street and field below.
The project uses the campus and the space over Varsity Field as a form of borrowed landscape. Interior spaces complete themselves in exterior spaces, binding activities together, contributing to a coherent development of the campus as a whole. The bowl of competition courts opens at grade to passersby and daylight, and reduces by 10 ft the depth of excavation needed. The stepped tiers of the Strength and Conditioning Centre visually complete the raked seating of Varsity Stadium opposite, a direct connection between training and performance. The lobbies and public spaces connect to streets, lanes and passages, stitching this new addition into the fabric of the St George campus.