It’s a sore thumb on campus. We have a love/hate relationship with the grumpy, unhelpful staff. The stacks are always messy and when you look at the library catalogue and see that the only copy of a book left on campus is at Robarts, you get a sinking feeling that the book is missing. Robarts library is just one of the things at U of T that we all love to hate. In fact, you probably aren’t a real U of T student until you get frustrated at it for some reason or another. It’s just one of those experiences that every U of T student goes through.
Unhelpful staff and messy shelves aside, we love to complain about the fact that the turkey “peacock-shaped” building is hideous. And it is, when you compare it with some of the lovely structures we have on campus, like Trinity College, UC or the fascinating Pharmacy building (if we want to have a more modern building on the list).
In any case, U of T is trying to transform the building and according to an article in the Toronto Star, this is what Robarts could look like after all the construction that is currently going on:
Personally, I find this proposed renovation horrendously disgusting. The article was talking about the open spaces that’s unfriendly and whatnot but in all honesty, this looks as if someone took a child’s doll house and tacked it on to the now decapitated turkey. At least with the turkey/peacock head, the building was caricature-ized. This new proposed plan seems to lack cohesion. At least with Daniel Libeskind’s crystal (which itself is deemed to be an architectural monstrosity), the idea was crazy enough to be interesting and in a sense, avant garde. This, on the other hand is just… weird. And kind of ugly. (Opinions?) The two portions don’t seem to match each other and therefore, the triangular concrete structure as a result of this contrasting “warm” add-on looks even more imposing and jail-like. I never thought that Robarts could be made even worse than it already is. Then again, I’m used to seeing the weird turkey/peacock on the corner of St. George and Harbord, so maybe it’s just me.
I know that Robarts has done a lot of renovations on the interior but I don’t think it’s enough. Rather than spending money on the outside of the building (which we’ll have to use anyways, so it’s not like we can demolish it completely or anything), it may be better to just completely redecorate the interior to make study space, not the exterior, more warm and welcoming. This way, students can get a nice surprise. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear: “Robarts is ugly on the outside but it’s wonderful when you walk in!”
So, what do you think of this proposed rejuvenation for Robarts?