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University of Toronto Varsity Pavilion

The new Varsity Pavilion at the University of Toronto is located at the south end of Varsity Stadium and serves as the main entrance for the stadium, winter dome and Varsity Arena. The new building also houses football change rooms, multipurpose change and meeting rooms, a sports therapy room and Olympic lifting platforms.

The new building was built over an existing electrical substation and high voltage transformer due to limited space available on the campus. Precast concrete was an excellent design solution when it came time to finding usable building space for the University’s Athletics Department amenities.

By using precast on the project as the flooring system, the building was able to stay within height requirements by taking advantage of hollow core’s shallow assembly.

The new pavilion was designed by Diamond + Schmidt Architects and constructed of poured concrete, 14” thick precast hollow core, solid precast slabs and a 2 piece precast beam. Coreslab Structures (ONT) Inc. was able to design a precast beam that could span over the electrical substation and high voltage transformer. The Pavilion was designed around this existing equipment and precast provided the safest solution for the construction of the building.

A three hour fire resistance rating was required over the transformer because of the public space above. Coreslab was able to design the precast concrete beams and solid slabs with the required rating. Precast hollow core slabs were used in other areas of the building and provided hollow cores standard 2 hour fire rating.

The precast beam was connected to the poured concrete structure with a highly specialized connector without the need for a haunch. Coreslab was able to keep the beam depth to a minimum by splitting in to two pieces and making it wider. The beam had a clear span of over 50’ and the two pieces were bolted together after being set in place.

The use of precast concrete elements to accommodate this unique scenario could not be achieved by any other construction material. This methodology had prevented workmen from having to work in and around the dangers of an exposed hydro transformer.

The Varsity Stadium is the home of the Varsity Blues, the athletic teams of the University of Toronto, and is also the former home of the Toronto Argonauts. The stadium has also hosted the Grey Cup, the Vanier Cup and the soccer semifinals in the 1976 Summer Olympics.

The new construction has made the university campus more appealing by hiding the transformer from the public eye. This project was started in 2008 by M. J. Dixon Construction Ltd. and completed in the fall of 2009 and is a great addition to the university campus.
Contractor: M. J. Dixon Construction Ltd.
Architect: Diamond and Schmitt Architects Incorporated
Engineer: Halcrow Yolles
Precast Supplier: Coreslab Structures (ONT) Inc.

Precast Products
2670 SF of 14” thick hollow core
2650 SF of 12” thick solid precast slabs (26 pcs)
52’ Precast beam (2 pcs)

Ontario Concrete Award – Structural Design Innovation

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