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University of Toronto - Robarts Library


Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects
Photo by Alina Cornea Architectural Photography

Robarts Library, the largest library at the University of Toronto, underwent and continues to undergo significant upgrades to accommodate almost 4,000 new study spaces on the 3rd, 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th floors. The 6th floor was renovated to create more office space and book stacks. The existing exterior porticos on the 2nd floor were enclosed with glass to make them part of the building interior. Bar-style seating, display cases, and study desks were added within the two porticos.

S + A Services Included:


In the summer of 2011, the University of Toronto completed a $13.8 million dollar revitalization program for the Robarts Library. The revitalization program included extensive renovation and upgrades throughout the 13-storey library. This improvement included changes to the existing mechanical services for the study areas, librarians' offices, labs, storage, video viewing and digital processing.

Now the crowning piece of the revitalization program is the changes to the two exterior open porticos. The open porticos were converted into public spaces - arrival halls. The little used spaces became the main point of entries into the library and public gathering place. New HVAC systems were added to accommodate the new facilities.


New electrical distribution, including transformers and panelboards, were added to support powered study tables and carrels which allow students to plug in their laptops. Floor boxes were coordinated with study table locations and power whips were integrated into a shroud which extended the table leg width. Power distribution was also provided for the new luminaires.


Wireless access points were added throughout all renovated spaces to enable student internet use.


The lighting design softens the raw concrete and reduces power consumption. LEDs, T5 fluorescents and CFL lamps have a matching colour temperature of 3500K. Round LED luminaires are located within the triangular structure to soften the rigid angles and shield the source from glare. A dropped ceiling panel is used to improve the ceiling light reflection and conceal the mechanical ductwork. The suspended luminaires provide ambient lighting while softly illuminating the ceiling structure. Compact fluorescent table lamps are fixed in all study carrels to provide task lighting at the table.


Toronto, Ontario

Gross Floor Area

  • 60,000 sq ft

Completion Year



2010 IES Illumination - International Award of Merit

2010 IES Illumination - Toronto Section Award