Dean’s Conference Room

University of Toronto

The existing conference room needed both an aesthetic renewal and retrofit as a state-of-the-art video-conferencing facility. Because of the tight timeframe, we only considered materials/vendors who could meet the schedule and expectations regarding aesthetics and durability. Other key goals included achieving an elegant signature space for this prestigious academic department in keeping with the architecturally significant Medical Sciences building in which the conference room is housed.

Reflecting the distinctive precast concrete exterior of the building, the ribbed oak wall surface was refinished and provides a textural counterpoint to the sleek Calacatta marble-topped credenza and the other elements in the space. Eames Aluminum Group Management chairs in white leather surround an impressively scaled custom-designed conference table fabricated in rift-cut white oak. While reducing glare, pale blue-grey sheer drapery allows natural light in and retains views to the tree canopy and campus beyond; blackout drapes accommodate complete light control for video-conferencing and presentations. An attractive new lighting strategy involved the replacement of the cove fixtures above the conference table, and mechanized controls for lighting, drapery and A/V components are integrated not only into the wall but the conference table.

Project challenges included the occupancy of adjacent rooms maintained during construction; the presence of asbestos in the ceiling requiring special coordination; and a fast-track design and construction schedule tied to the academic calendar.

photo: Shai Gil