Toronto is known for its extreme architecture. The CN Tower, OCAD, and the Royal Ontario Museum are some famous examples. But did you know that Graduate House is also a critically acclaimed, award winning building? Architecture critic Christopher Hume called Graduate House Toronto’s “first architectural landmark of the 21st century.”

Completed in November 2000, Graduate House was designed by Thom Maine and his team at Morphosis Architectural Firm, in conjunction with Toronto Architect Stephen Teeple and his firm Teeple Architects Inc. This team won the university’s design contest in 1998, no small feat given the university’s budgetary constraints and the considerable demands and restrictions placed on the design by the city. The design for Graduate House earned the team a number of awards, including the Progressive Architecture Award, the Canadian Architecture Award, and the American Institure of Architects Award. Thom Maine has since won the Pritzker Prize, the top award in Architecture, for his design career.

The deconstructionist design of Graduate House combines the heaviness of concrete and metal with the lightness of glass. Though it is not readily apparent from the street, Graduate House’s exterior is made up of nearly 70% glass. Ribbon windows line the street-side faces, and the two-story glass and metal cantilever acts as both sign and western gate for the university. Graduate House continues to attract the interest of architects and photographers from around the globe.

For more information about the architecture of Graduate House, check out these articles:

  • George Thomas Kapelos, “Learning Experience,” Canadian Architect, November 2001.
  • A Weekly Dose of Architecture, July 2001.
  • Larry Richards, “Graduate House,” Nancy Byrtus, Mark Fram, Michael McClelland, East West: A Guide to Where People Live in Downtown Toronto, Coach Books, 2000.

The Moose

It’s no secret that the Moose is an integral part of Graduate House. Where did our fascination with the Moose come from?

It all started with the heavy metal sculpture now on display in the Graduate House Courtyard. A gift from celebrated Canadian artist Charles Pachter, “Moosedemeanor” is cut by water jet from a 4 x 10 ft panel of two inch thick corten steel. It is also the sister sculpture of “Mooseconstrue” that was installed on the south west corner of St. George and Harbord in 2002.

Appearing in a number of the generously donated Pachter pieces consituting our art collection, the Moose took on a thematic presence in Graduate House. Its position was solidified in 2002 when the moose played a prominent role in the winning design entered in our Logo Contest, and fate brought the Moose to the plush level in 2005.

The future looks bright for the GH Moose.