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Architecture of Space;

The Teachers' College

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Psychiatric History

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Architecture of Space; The Teachers’ College

In the summer of 1975, Humber obtained the complete 90,000 square feet of the Lakeshore Teachers’ College for the creation of its Lakeshore campus. Rigorous alterations and additions to the building started the same year in order to expand the campus space and host an ever-growing number of students.

However, it was not the first time that the building was to be used as an influential educational institution in Ontario. Before its closure in 1971, the Lakeshore Teachers’ College welcomed nearly 900 students who dreamed of becoming teachers and joining the Canadian workforce. 

This exhibit has two parts! 

Click the Images to Explore!

The architectural design for the Lakeshore Teachers’ College was completed by the Gordon S. Adamson & Associates architectural firm in 1957. Adamson was a well-established Toronto-based architect who helped drive Canadian architectural ventures into the Modernism era. 

Modernist Architecture emerged in the first half of the twentieth century after the second World War. It was a rejection of the traditional nineteenth century neoclassical architecture and was based on new technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass and steel.

 

With its size and liberal use of steel and glass, the Lakeshore Teachers’ College building was a stunning contrast to the neighbouring nineteenth century brick cottages which housed the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital. 

Two of the few remaining original architectural drawings by Gordon S. Adamson Associates (dated May 27, 1957).

Images courtesy of  Spencer Wood, Humber Facilities Management.

Despite the short time the Teachers’ College was in operation, there were a number of structural innovations which reflect the transition towards how Canadian schools look and operate today. The communication and conduit plans were proposed and approved by the Ontario Department of Public Works (now called the Ministry of Infrastructure), under Chief Architect George N. William.

 

The Communication Conduct layouts were used as a guide to build physical pathways for the telecommunications cables in the building and allowed for building-wide announcements and communications. 

In the early 1960s, the Department of Public Works began to focus on landscaping the natural spaces around the College. Under Chief Architect D.G. Creba, green spaces surrounding the building were designed with a diverse array of trees planted.

 

The layout included cedar, juniper, and yew trees – all coniferous trees which could survive the harsh and unpredictable winters typical of the Canadian outdoors and therefore provide attractive greenery year round.

 

Sadly, students today cannot take their own stroll through the woods – Humber’s A/B parking lot and student residence now stand where the trees once were!

Landscaping Drawing, Plot Plan, New Toronto, Lakeshore Teachers' College, 1962.

Landscaping Drawing, Detail, New Toronto,

Lakeshore Teachers' College, 1962.

Source for images: Archives of Ontario, RG 15-13-2. Image reproduced with permission.

Humber obtained the complete 90,000 square feet of the Lakeshore Teachers’ College in the summer of 1975 - it was the first building of its new Lakeshore campus.

 

Alterations to the building began in 1975 to expand the classrooms. Humber’s expansion and alterations to the building have continued to the present day, fusing past and present with the new B building standing alongside the historic site.

Curator's Statement:

Architecture of Space; The Teachers’ College is an insight on the original Teachers' College building, its architectural features, and its years of institutional function. Selected from the early architectural drawings and archival photos, the exhibition invites visitors to view the building as a leading example of 20th-century modernist style in Canadian architecture. A movement away from the traditional structures of prior generations, for an educational institution to boast such architectural innovation is truly modern in both style and concept.

Ultimately, this exhibit hopes to shed light on a less explored aspect of the history of the Lakeshore Grounds and help introduce visitors to the artistry of architecture and its impact on education.

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Landscaping Drawing, Plot Plan, New Toronto, Lakeshore Teachers' College, 1962. Archives of Ontario.