Chestnut Residence Dining Hall + Offices


Chestnut Residence and Conference Centre in the heart of downtown Toronto is home to over 1,000 students from the University of Toronto and functions as the workplace of approximately 130 staff. Aimed at providing improved student and administrative infrastructure, this project includes an extensive reorganization and refresh of the Residence Life Administration offices, dining hall and support spaces. An inviting ambiance has been created throughout with a clean and tranquil material palette of whites, greens and greys, along with warm wood finishes that reflect the building’s name. The design includes flexible spaces for student use and engagement, providing full and equal access for all users.

A new configuration of the Residence Life Administration offices allows for greater productivity, spatial flow, overall comfort for staff, and access to natural light. A mix of private offices and open workstations along with meeting spaces accommodate a variety of administrative functions. Additionally, the offices are now visible to students, improving accessibility and promoting the mandate to support student life at the university. 

As a major component of the project, the new 350-seat dining hall is designed to accommodate the various requirements of the facility; acting as a self-operated dining program during the day, it hosts a well-used study and social events program in the off-hours. The new design increases the seating capacity to support peak hours of dining while providing additional study space. The dining hall is programmed as a series of branded zones—Hearth, Hub, Dining with Don, Café + Croissant, Harvest, Express and Snug—that work independently and as a whole. Each space has a particular visual presence and is differentiated by its furnishings, enclosure and lighting. A visual connection to the lobby is established through glazing, materiality and signage that work collectively to guide students into the dining space.

photo: Shai Gil