u of t leslie dan

Toronto landmark just got a spectacular glowing upgrade

A once sci-fi-looking feature at the edge of Queen's Park Crescent has looked more on the low-fi side in recent months. The atrium of the University of Toronto's Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy has been darkened by the temporary absence of its prominent glowing features.

But the glow is returning brighter than ever thanks to an ongoing retrofit project that is modernizing the building's most photogenic feature.

The Faculty of Pharmacy opened in 2006 with what was at that time a state-of-the-art lighting system from acclaimed electrical engineer and light consultant Claude Engle.

Two illuminated orb-shaped classrooms float over the atrium and give the building an otherworldly quality, whether from within the atrium or through the building's glass-enclosed base.

Technology moves quickly in this world, and after only a decade and a half, the atrium is getting a much-needed lighting upgrade from award-winning light design specialists Mulvey & Banani.

Upgraded from the original lighting scheme, which could look a bit blotchy in certain circumstances, the new look bathes the pods in a uniform glow.

The upgrade is a fitting treatment for what was the first Toronto building designed by U.K.-based architects Foster + Partners, led by Sir Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank — the 86-year-old architect's title a pretty good indicator of how highly he's regarded in his field.

While relatively restrained in its style, it paved the way for Foster + Partners' supertall skyscraper The One, currently under construction at the corner of Yonge and Bloor and vying to be Canada's tallest building.

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