Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

“At once an experimental and social space, the Taylor Institute offers an innovative theatre in the round approach to the architecture of open learning.”

Hadani Ditmars – Wallpaper, April 29, 2016

When Don Taylor announced his gift of $40M for a new teaching and learning institute, he sought to redress a still-unresolved problem he faced as a grad student: nobody teaches young teachers how to teach.

The University of Calgary was onside to take up the challenge, creating the Taylor Institute. It’s a one-of-a-kind facility on the leading-edge of pedagogical research, offering some of the most innovative learning spaces in North America.

The main idea is simple, yet visionary: invite innovative teachers and researchers into a versatile space where they would cultivate new approaches to teaching and learning. Their findings will inform teachers and students at the University of Calgary, and beyond.

The Taylor Institute inherited the shell of an old gallery space. Though underused, it sat at the nexus of several campus ‘desire lines.’ We saw an opportunity for a new gateway to the University—a hub on campus. Aligned with the University’s ‘Eyes High’ vision and strategy, the building’s public ‘spine’—exposed on the façade—connects seamlessly to the campus. Generous in size, it draws the community into an atrium where teaching and learning are in focus. Three bridges interconnect the north and south of the building, and various ‘hanging pods’—suspended from the roof—serve as small breakout rooms, bringing functionality and transparency to the upper levels.

The flexible spaces in the building accommodate experimental approaches to teaching—tested, tried, observed, and evaluated. Morphing from structured learning to team-based, experimental methods, the architecture responds to the evolving needs of the researchers, students, and teachers through adaptable spaces.

Client University of Calgary
Completion 2016
Sustainability LEED Gold Certified

In joint venture with Gibbs Gage Architects
Photography Ed White Photographics, Tom Arban, Taylor Institute

Awards See all project awards
2019 Wood WORKS! Alberta, Prairie Wood Design Awards – Interior Showcase
2015 Alberta Construction Magazine – Top Projects 2015, Institutional Design
Team See full project team