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York University - Archives of Ontario + York Research Tower


Designed by B+H Architects
Photo by Alina Cornea Architectural Photography

The Archives of Ontario and the York Research Tower were constructed under two separate design build contracts~~ the York Research Tower with York University and The Archives of Ontario with Infrastructure Ontario. The York Research Tower is an office building for York University, while the Archives of Ontario researches, maintains, and stores valuable historical artifacts.

One of the project's fundamental goals was to meet strict environmental requirements that are required, for example, by many traveling exhibitions. The ASHRAE standards for Museums, Art Galleries, and Archives is considered the defacto standard accepted by such organizations as the Canadian Conservation Institute. These standards were applied on the project in a cascading approach from minimal control (Class D) to precision control (Class AA) to suit the layout and operating parameters of the project.

S + A Services Included:


The Archives of Ontario facility is designed with environmental systems that offer high quality storage space for the longevity of the artifacts. The systems redundancy ensures that the Archives will continue to operate in the event of mechanical failure or routine maintenance. The primary storage areas maintain stringent temperature and humidity control to enhance the lifespan of the contents and are complete with misting type fire protection and advanced smoke detection systems to limit damage to the contents in the event of a fire.


This facility had a number of exceptional fire alarm system performance specifications which were successfully designed and implemented.


Toronto, Ontario

Gross Floor Area

  • 210,000 sq ft

Total Construction Cost

$ 90,000,000

Completion Year



2012 Canadian Design Build Institute, 2nd Runner-up, Design-Build Award of Excellence