Home to three popular academic programs –Cinema Studies, Urban Studies and Writing and Rhetoric, Innis College has enjoyed significant growth in enrollment over the last four decades. Montgomery Sisam Architects was initially retained by the University to complete a development study and concept design aimed to remedy a lack of space and imagine a new path forward for Innis College that is both reflective of the College’s legacy and supportive of its future. The existing building combines a heritage-listed Victorian home and modern 70’s brick structure designed by Diamond-Myers that were carefully considered in the development of our design solution.

A new three-story addition will house offices and classrooms, an expanded Innis Café and food servery, as well as a new library hub. Circulation routes have been seamlessly integrated with the existing Diamond structure, improving student flow within, around, and through the building. The design also remediates accessibility issues, creates more permeability on site, augments indoor-outdoor connections, and increases the College’s presence off the University’s main thoroughfare. The quantity of green space on the tight urban site will be improved through the transformation of an existing, underutilized green space into a formal courtyard and the inclusion of a new rooftop terrace. The heart of the building is reestablished through this courtyard space. Transparency at grade will allow the courtyard to feed into and off of the new, open, student-centered spaces on the ground floor.

This project aims to achieve low energy use, low operating costs, low carbon emissions, and a high degree of wellness. As a University policy, the addition is mandated to target a performance level 40% better than the industry standard ASHRAE benchmark. Beyond energy and emissions, the project builds on the University and College’s wellness ambitions with careful consideration given to access to natural daylight; acoustic comfort; access to the outdoors; control of nuisance smells and noises and encouragement in the use of stairs.


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Building Size:

50,000 sq. ft.

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