The Ryerson University new Student Learning Center (SLC) was designed to offer students a home away from home, complemented by an exquisite design. Tall and visually striking, Ryerson’s Student Learning Center projects an edgy but confident look.

Snøhetter of Oslo, Norway and New York City designed the SLC in tandem with Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto. With its glistening gem-like façade of geometric panes, the Ryerson University SLC is eight-stories and more than 155,430 square-feet. Situated in the busy heart of historic Toronto at the intersection of Gould and Yonge Streets, it provides Ryerson students with everything they need to excel in the 21st century. The floors are named after elements in nature or landscape features such as The Bluff, The Beach and The Garden, and each incorporate a range of study options, social spaces and student services, all with the latest in technology and support. In addition to the convenient bridge that leads to Ryerson’s existing library next door, the SLC features a café and retail spaces.

Since opening to students and the public in February 2015, the $112 million student center has made its mark on Toronto. The exterior of the building features a complex system of triple glazed glass panes reveling a graphic across the surface. The glazing aims to control solar heat and glare while adding interest to the natural interior lighting. From outside, these patterns create a dynamic sheen that enhances the building’s gem-like appearance. The SLC is also a certified LEED Silver building and to achieve the status, dedicated 50 percent of its roof to urban green space.

To accomplish the dynamic and geometrical appearance, architects enlisted Flynn Canada to assist in the installation. With budget and efficiency in mind, Flynn Canada called upon ALPOLIC to provide metal panels to keep the structure in tact. A simple approach to a complex project, the Flynn Canada team experimented with bending the ALPOLIC panels to achieve the desired aesthetic. And it worked. The next challenge was to bring to reality the iridescent appearance the architects had in mind. Mocking up a variety of samples, architects chose Valspar’s Valfon coating in Prismatic Blue, which added to the dimensionality of the intricate exterior and provided an illuminating shine.

The finish on the metal panels evokes a molecular crystalline lattice as it might appear under a powerful microscope. The Prismatic Blue soffit extends into the SLC’s spacious interior lobby and provides a continuous look.

Valspar’s Valflon is a fluropolymer resin-based coating that is perfect for high-traffic spaces. It is a superior architectural coating product that resists weathering, fading and chalking, as well as airborne chemicals. The company also offers the ability to attain high-gloss, vivid colors, which are exemplified in the depth of color and sheen in Ryerson’s blue exterior. The high-gloss coating gives the building a pearlescent finish that shimmers and reflects different shades of color depending on how the sunlight hits.


Project Overview

Project:  Ryerson University
Date completed: 2015

Coatings provider: The Valspar Corporation; Minneapolis, Minn.;

Construction manager: EllisDon Corporation;

Architect: Snøhetta; and Zeidler Partnership Architects;

Metal panels manufacturer: ALPOLIC;

Fabricator/Installer: Flynn Canada;