Novae Res Urbis: TMU to repurpose former civic centre into new School of Medicine 

Rendering by PLAY-TIME, Courtesy of Diamond Schmitt

For more information, please contact:
Andrea Chin, Communications Director

Cecily Eckhardt, Principal

April 17, 2024

The new School of Medicine at the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is featured in an article by Lana Hall for Novae Res Urbis.

TMU announced it has selected Diamond Schmitt to design its new medical school, to be located in Brampton. The property where the school will be developed at is at 150 Central Park Drive, where the former Bramalea Civic Centre sits. The repurposed building will house teaching and learning space for both undergraduate and post-graduate programs, as well as a library, gallery space, and a communal kitchen with a student-run herb garden. The building’s ground floor will be anchored by a primary care medical clinic open to the public.

In considering how to approach its proposal for the medical school’s design, the team at Diamond Schmitt made the decision to embrace the former civic centre’s brutalist architecture and to repurpose as much of the existing 1972-built structure as possible.

“Using the existing building is a mandate of the project, so that came from TMU. As a sustainable act, it’s one of the most sustainable things to do. So instead of tearing down a building, let’s repurpose it and give it a new life”, says Diamond Schmitt Associate Cecily Eckhardt.

“A really interesting part of our career as a firm has been to restore and yet transform existing brutalist buildings: the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the Robarts Library at the University of Toronto, just to name a couple. And I think what’s really interesting is not only the environmental argument, but the opportunity to take what are often very beautiful buildings of their kind of  flawed in certain ways,” says Diamond Schmitt Principal Don Schmitt.

On designing numerous medical and educational facilities, Schmitt says, “The whole teaching of medicine is changing, just like all sorts of methods of education are really transforming in the way that students learn science and theory. The impact those changes have on design and architecture is really pushing us to create more flexible spaces, spaces that have the ability to be tweaked, adjusted, reconfigured to suit experiential learning."

Read the full article here.

Posted with permission of the publisher of NRU Publishing Inc. Original article first appeared in Novae Res Urbis GTHA, Vol. 27, No. 15, April 10, 2024.

Erratum: In the Wednesday April 10 edition of NRU Toronto, the story “Giving New Life To Good Bones” should have cited that the new School of Medicine at the Toronto Metropolitan University would be occupying and renovating 70,000-square-feet of the 235,000-square-foot Bramalea Civic Centre.