Pond Road Student Residence, York University

Located on the Keele Street campus of York University, this 440-bed residence is the first green student residence in Ontario. Stretching the length of Pond Road is an L-shaped patterned glass and concrete podium which hovers over a transparent ground floor. A nine-storey tower at the east end of the site, completes a U-shaped plan and creates an 8,000 sf courtyard.

The Pond Road Student Residence uses the same energy as conventional residences half its size. Sustainable design initiatives include in-slab heating and cooling that use the buildings concrete structure as a heat sink, a high performance curtain wall with sunshade devices, heat recovery on all exhausts and a planted roof.

The scope of this project also included the design of the courtyard and the streetscapes of Pond and Atkinson Roads. The courtyard is the major piece in the landscape of the residence. It is a modern derivative of the traditional college courtyard/quadrangle, taking its cues from both the architecture of the residence and the Colleges programme for the out-of-doors. The south edge of the courtyard carries out-of-doors the ground floor inside of the residence. The east and west edges of the courtyard are lined with Trembling Aspens. These provide both a visual and acoustic barrier between the courtyard and the residence rooms facing onto the courtyard.

Along the north edge of the courtyard is a pedestrian corridor separated from the courtyard by an alee of Japanese Lilac Trees. These, along with a continuous concrete bench/wall contain the south edge of the courtyard as well as provide shaded seating along the wall. The pristine grass square that is the centre of the courtyard is a gesture to the traditional college courtyard/quadrangle and forms the support for out-of-doors activities.


Project Type


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Related links


  • architectsAlliance
  • Pat Hanson
  • Tom Arban Photography