Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building, University of Toronto

Norman Foster

Pritzker prize winner, Lord Foster, designed this building, his first in Canada, at one of the entrances to the University of Toronto campus. This building was the winning entry in an international competition with more than 20 competitors. It is named for Leslie L. Dan, a noted Canadian pharmacist and philanthropist (as well as the founder of Novopharm, a drug manufacturing company).

Front and oblique view

The simple structure is essentially a 7-story cube on top of five-story box. Tall columns surround the building providing support.

Views of the base--front and side and right: view of the back


Unusual concrete columns

According to Wikipedia, the slender columns "were built from the bottom up using self-compacting concrete" and the building is "surrounded by the Luxembourg-imported glass curtain wall facade and black granite frames."

The pods/eggs

Suspended on thin metal rods, the pods seem to float in the atrium, which extends to the top of the building to two floors below grade. The pods are clearly visible from the street and glow in various colors at night as a result of imaginative multi-colored stage lights and an opaque silver reflective paint applied to the plaster surface of the pods. (The lighting effects are attributed to Claude Engle, known for his lighting effects for the Louvre and the Reichstag.) The larger pod is a classroom that can hold 60 students. The flat top is a reading room. The smaller pod can hold 25 and has a faculty lounge on the top. A catwalk provides the access to each pod as well as concealing mechanical and electrical services.


The smaller pod

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© 2010 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.