The Invitation -- Introduction -- Scope and Work of Project Budget -- Site Context and Description -- Current Policies -- Site Program -- Submission Requirements -- ALERT May 26 and Questions asked regarding RFP -- Interviews(NEW)

1.0 The Invitation

The University of Toronto requests expressions of interest for a landscape design of the King's College Circle Precinct. The precinct is located in the heart of the University's St. George Campus in downtown Toronto.

The project presents an exciting opportunity to recognize the new thinking now taking place at the University of Toronto and sets the standard for this millennium. Your interest and participation will be welcomed.

Invitation Call May 01
Closing Date for Expression of Interest May 31
Selection of Candidates for Interview 1st Week of June
Interviews Last 2 weeks of June

2.0 Introduction

In June of 1999, all levels of University governance unanimously approved the Open Space Master Plan, "Investing in the Landscape". The Plan was the culmination of several comprehensive planning initiatives and the beginning of a new approach to the University campus. It now forms the guidelines for the open space of the University and this design brief implements the first demonstration project of the Master Plan - the King's College Circle Precinct. The demonstration site represents the revitalization of the heart of the campus open space system and the result should be a landscape of landmark quality. The University is now seeking prequalification applications from firms or teams interested in participating in a two-stage selection process. Stage 1 will be submissions of expressions of interest and Stage 2 will be interviews of the short listed proponents. The Open Space Master Plan may be found on the University of Toronto website:


3.1 Scope of Work

The project consists of three phases. Phase 1 will involve working at two different scales. At the larger scale, the selected design team will develop a Precinct Plan to ensure comprehensive planning and an integrated design. At the smaller scale, the team will develop detailed designs and working drawings for the five specific, but integrated areas of King's College Circle, King's College Road, the Plaza at Convocation Hall, Simcoe Walk and Galbraith Road. Phase 2 will consist of implementation of King's College Road, the Plaza at Convocation Hall and Simcoe Walk. Phase 3 will consist of implementation of the remaining components when funds become available.

3.2 Project Budget

The budget for Phases 1 and 2 is $4.3 million Canadian.


4.1 Site Context

Originally established in 1827, the University of Toronto is Canada's largest undergraduate institution and one of North America's leading public research universities with approximately 50,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff. The St. George campus is the main campus of the University.

Roughly square in plan, the campus is situated within a surrounding urban environment of commercial, residential and institutional uses. The campus is divided in two sectors: the central core comprising the historical precinct with University owned streets, limited traffic flow, and a considerable pedestrian network; and the north and west areas intersected by major municipal roads with largely intact city blocks.

The campus forms a vital part of the centre of the newly amalgamated City of Toronto, the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest city in North America. The City is known for its vibrant and livable downtown. Recognized by the United Nations as the most ethnically diverse city, Toronto provides a rich cultural, social and economic environment. The University is now undergoing a surge in student enrollment and research initiatives. As a result, a number of large capital projects are planned for construction.

4.2 Site Description

King's College Circle Precinct is the symbolic and ceremonial heart of the campus. Laid out in 1827, it was conceived as a series of three open spaces, King's College Circle, Hart House Circle and the Back Campus. These spaces were further defined by the historical buildings which surround them. The basic concept is still intact today, except large groupings of trees have been lost to new academic facilities, roads have widened and a double row of parked cars encircle the central green space and many University roads. The tradition of the serene open lawn used for recreational and ceremonial purposes has been maintained and is still admired.


University of Toronto, St George Campus Master Plan

The most recent Master Plan for the University was adopted by Governing Council in 1993. The Plan incorporated a Land Use Plan to guide the University in the systematic and comprehensive planning of its facilities and grounds. The Land Use Plan was designed in part to test and implement three demonstration areas: Philosophers' Walk, the Willcocks/St. George Intersection and the McLennan Courtyard.

City of Toronto, Part II Official Plan for the University of Toronto Area

A new Official Plan for the University precinct was completed in June of 1997. Its purpose was to guide the use of land and development within the University area and includes site specific policies, zoning by-laws and urban design guidelines. The Plan identifies 23 sites with future development potential within the existing University boundaries.

Parking ByLaw

Given that the University is extremely accessible by public transit, cycling, walking and transit are recognized as the most important means of transportation to and within the University Area in the Campus Master Plan and in the Part 11 Plan. The Part 11 Plan mandates a range of 1,930 to 2,130 parking spaces, and envisions the replacement of surface parking with underground parking in future development.

Open Space Master Plan

Building on the policies contained in the St George Master Plan and the City's Part 11 Plan, the Open Space Master Plan proposes the creation of a Pedestrian Priority Zone to address pedestrian movement on the campus. King's College Circle Precinct forms a major part of the proposed new Pedestrian Priority Zone and hence a high priority should be placed on the quality of the pedestrian environment. The Pedestrian Priority Zone establishes a first preference to pedestrians, second preference to cyclists, and third preference to automobiles in the design of campus infrastructure.


6.1 Terms Of Reference

The University requests the successful proponent to address the following issues in the detailed design of the King's College Circle Precinct:

  • Careful consideration of King's College Circle to ensure coherent circulation within the University, integration with the surrounding campus and a dignified presence;

  • Traffic flow including visitors, tour buses, students, faculty, staff and servicing needs. Integrate site circulation study into the detailed design;

  • Balance of the automobile and the needs of the pedestrian. The design should respond to the University community who, in the Master Plan consultation process expressed the importance of the open spaces in their personal lives and directed the University to plan for "people first". The challenge is to increase the pedestrian feel of the campus by making it a green inviting environment, while at the same time addressing servicing and vehicular needs;

  • Restriction of through traffic across the University's front campus area;

  • The University's recreational requirements on the front campus;

  • Role of the bicycle vis vis people on foot and people in cars and include adequate bicycle parking areas;

  • A design for Convocation Hall Plaza which creates a major focus for the campus as a place of ceremony, celebration and student gathering;

  • Clear strong pedestrian connections throughout the central precinct and from the central precinct to the edge roads and other areas of the campus;

  • The entrance on King's College Road at College Street is considered one of the University's main gateways. It should be dignified and maintain a clear line of vision from College Street to University College;

  • Consistency and design quality in materials and street furnishings. Materials must be environmentally sensitive and chosen by a life-cycle approach that includes consideration of their durability and environmentally appropriate maintenance;

  • Consideration of all walkways and spaces in the winter months;

  • Consideration of lighting in relation to design and safety;

  • Streetscape improvement to Galbraith Road and a better balance between service vehicles and pedestrians. Consideration of a more attractive entrance from St George Street;

  • Need for a strong, attractively landscaped east/west pedestrian connection from King's College Circle to St George Street (Simcoe Walk) that can be used as a prototype for pedestrian paths across the campus;

  • Address relevant edge conditions where the City and University meet (e.g. at College Street and St George Street) so the University integrates with the adjacent communities, but at the same time retains its own distinctive character along the street;

  • Cost of ongoing maintenance;

  • Adherence to the University's environmental policy, the St George Campus Master Plan and the open space principles of "Investing in the Landscape". The environmental policy and "Investing in the Landscape" are on the University of Toronto web site.


7.1 Call for Expression of Interest

The Request for Proposal is available on the internet from May 1,2000 at <>.

7.2 Consulting Team(s)

The University will consider joint ventures for the project with the following conditions:

1. A firm can submit only one joint venture proposal

2. One member must practise in the Greater Toronto Area.

7.3 Submission Requirements

5 copies of an expression of interest are to be submitted. The submission should be no more than 15 single-sided pages, inclusive of appendices. Any additional material will not be considered. The following information should be included:

  1. Team Composition and Identification of Applicant(s)
    • Name of firm(s) applying including addresses, telephone/fax numbers and e-mail.
    • At this time the University requires only a core team of the lead proponent(s). Once selected, engineers, artists and other specialist consultants will be added if required with the prior approval of the University.
    • Key individuals assigned to the project with their proposed roles and responsibilities.
  2. Previous Relevant Work
    • A description of significant projects of similar complexity and scope to the proposed project, clearly identifying the roles played by the individuals and firms nominated for this project
    • The construction cost, size of each project listed and a reference for the project
    • Any significant design or environmental feature utilized in the design of the completed project should be noted
  3. Design Approach and Schedule
    • Describe the design approach for the King's College Circle Precinct.
    • Provide a project schedule.

7.4 Selection Process

Submissions will be assessed by an Evaluation Team.

Selection will be based on the following criteria:

    • Design Capability - demonstrated ability to develop innovative and creative projects; proven ability to achieve excellence in built works; ability to design at a range of scales and execute detailed work;
    • Demonstrated experience working with complex institutions;
    • Ability to work with other professionals and collaborate as a team;
    • Appropriate experience and a proven track record.

The Evaluation Team will recommend four to six firms to be interviewed by the Project Implementation Committee established by the University of Toronto for this project.

7.5 Communication

All questions concerning the expression of interest should be faxed by May 17, 2000 to: Janice Oliver, Assistant Vice-President, Operations & Services: 416-978-1737. In order to maintain consistency of information and response, no other person at the University will receive or respond to questions. Responses to the questions will be posted on the University web site

7.6 Submissions of Expression of Interest

Sealed submissions must be delivered by 12 noon on May 31, 2000 to:

Janice Oliver, Assistant Vice-President, Operations & Services
University of Toronto
27 King's College Circle, Room 109
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1A1

Questions asked regarding RFP

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