Van Valkenburgh and team reimagine University of Toronto’s St. George campus

Michael Van Valkenburgh, Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is a member of a consortium honored for its reimagination of the University of Toronto’s storied St. George campus. Van Valkenburgh’s Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. (MVVA) collaborated with firms KPMB Architects and Urban Strategies to present a proposal for the University of Toronto’s Landscape of Landmark Quality Innovative Design Competition.

The competition was initiated in May to help revitalize the major public spaces of the university’s historic downtown Toronto campus. Results were announced on December 9.

Among the elements of the group’s proposal are elimination of motor traffic on the campus’s central King’s College Circle and a ground-up reinvention of the campus’s Convocation Plaza. Van Valkenburgh and the team will now work with the university to develop an actionable master plan by September 2016, with an emphasis on community input throughout the process. 

“In a university environment, one expects dialogue and exchange to characterize a process like this,” Van Valkenburgh tells University of Toronto magazine. “We expect feedback, we welcome it and we enjoy it.”

Van Valkenburgh has taught at the GSD since 1982, serving as landscape architecture program director from 1987 to 1989 and chair of the department from 1991 to 1996. He is MVVA’s founding principal and has designed a wide range of project types—including campus design. MVVA received an Honor Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation from the U.S. National Trust for its restoration of Harvard Yard in 1994, and received the American Society of Landscape Architects’ (ASLA) Design Award of Excellence for its Wellesley College Alumnae Valley Restoration in 2006.

To learn more about the University of Toronto project, read the complete feature from University of Toronto magazine.

(All renderings courtesy MVVA & KPMB)