Ryerson University Centre for Urban Innovation: Retro-Fitting and Forward-Thinking

Ruth McMath, RWDI Inc.
Ronen Bauer, Moriyama & Teshima Architects

The Ryerson University Centre for Urban Innovation (RCUI) will be uniquely situated on a campus in downtown Toronto. The development involves retro-fitting and adding on to a 130-year-old heritage building to accommodate research laboratories, entrepreneurial spaces, and updated utilities. This facility will be a hub for research and innovation in key urban issues focusing on food, water and energy.

The site invokes unique challenges, both as a result of the heritage designation, as well as the presence of taller residential structures immediately adjacent to the building on two sides. The regulatory environment, combined with the high level of visibility of the development to neighbors, required early consideration of potential air quality and noise issues, which can potentially be in direct conflict with the desire to reduce energy use in the development.

This session, co-presented by Moriyama & Teshima Architects and RWDI, explores the range of ventilation, noise, and energy use strategies applied to the RCUI in response to these constraints and challenges. Approaches for balancing sustainability goals while meeting health, safety, and comfort expectations for occupants of the RCUI and surrounding buildings will be explored. The outcomes of energy, noise, and exhaust dispersion modeling conducted during the schematic design phase will be presented, along with a look ahead to modeling needs during the detailed design phase of development. For example, quantitative examples will be provided of the energy benefits to be gained by modifying the HVAC control strategy.

Learning Objectives

  • Be able to identify challenges and constraints associated with the addition of laboratories on existing or infill sites in an urban setting.
  • Better understand the importance of energy modeling early the in the design process, and the potential for changes in one building system to impact others.
  • Acquire a deeper knowledge of the various modeling tools available to assess potential noise, air quality, and energy use conditions early in project design.
  • Identify the benefit of fine-tuning exhaust stack and HVAC system parameters in order to reduce building energy use.


Ruth is an experienced air quality specialist who supports building performance objectives by using wind tunnel and numerical exhaust dispersion modeling methods to find the optimal design solution for each context. She has consulted on a wide range of laboratory projects at research institutions, hospitals, and commercial sites. In each unique setting, Ruth works to achieve a big-picture perspective, situating her own work in the wider project architecture to ensure positive overall outcomes.

A talented designer and interpreter of design intentions, Ronen has demonstrated his expertise as the lead designer for a number of academic buildings, including the UTM Innovation Complex, Lakehead University LEED Platinum Academic Building, Conestoga College School of Engineering and Information Technology, and Humber College Athletics Centre. Ronen is currently the Designer and Project Manager on Ryerson University's new Centre for Urban Innovation.


Note: I2SL did not edit or revise abstract or biography text. Abstracts and biographies are displayed as submitted by the author(s).