Midweek Modness: University of Toronto Robarts Library

robarts library

There is no building in Toronto that is a better example of the Brutalist style than the Robarts Library at the University of Toronto. It’s hard to imagine when you look at this imposing, precast concrete structure that the Brutalists believed that by creating sculptural forms and using rough-hewn, “honest” finishes that they were creating an anti-bourgeios, utopian style of architecture.

But placed in the context U of T’s neo-classical, ivy-covered campus, the Robarts Library (built by Mathers & Haldenby Architects) was initially seen as a monolithic eyesore. When I was a kid, it was rumoured to be so heavy that it was actually sinking into the ground (the same thing was said of the Dana Porter arts library at my alma mater, the University of Waterloo).

Now, 40 years after its completion, people are starting to come around to appreciate the futuristic “Fort Book.” And no, it is not sinking.