One year ago, Urban Toronto wrote about the University of Toronto’s Zoning By-law Amendment application for the Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH). The project has since been awarded to the lauded Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and Toronto's renowned Diamond Schmitt Architects. Now, theZoning By-law Amendment application has been resubmitted with changes that reduce the size of the proposed building.

Looking north to SAMIH, designed by MVRDV and Diamond Schmitt Architects, for University of Toronto

Located at the north end of the Scarborough Campus (UTSC), the site is at the intersection of Military Trail and Morningside Avenue, on the northeast side. The site and campus are in Toronto’s Highland Creek neighbourhood. The site is currently occupied by surface parking.

Looking southeast to SAMIH, designed by MVRDV and Diamond Schmitt Architects, for University of Toronto

Planned for completion in 2026, the project is set to be the first building in Canada for MVRDV, whose diverse portfolio spans several continents. Their resubmission for SAMIH maintains a six-storey institutional building with a modern design but slightly shrinks the proposed height from 35m to 32m. The gross floor area has also been notably reduced to from 15,177m² to 9,549.2m².

The central interior of SAMIH, designed by MVRDV and Diamond Schmitt Architects, for University of Toronto

Meanwhile, the western setbacks have been increased along Morningside Avenue, which would allow for new landscaped areas. The ground floor would still feature public-facing uses such as food services and a pharmacy, with the retail space totalling 126m² in area. The new proposal still calls for academic, clinical, and research spaces in the basement and the upper floors.

Looking east to the current site, image retrieved from Google Street View

The resubmission notes that there would be temporary surface parking with 249 spots, to the east of the site next to the Toronto Pan-Am Sports Centre building. Bicycle parking is still included in the revised plans, but reduced from 92 long-term and 42 short-term spaces to 32 and 14 respectively.

The previous design for SAMIH, by gh3 for University of Toronto

For TTC commuters, the site is serviced by two buses that lead to Victoria Park and Kennedy subway stations. In addition, the as yet unfunded Eglinton East Light Rail Transit (EELRT) is to feature two stops within walking distance, at Ellesmere Road and Morningside Avenue and at the UTSC campus, sometime off in the future.

An aerial view of the site and surrounding area, image retrieved from Google Street View

The SAMIH is planned to be a training facility for healthcare professionals that would help with the city’s growing crisis of medical staffing shortages. In particular, UTSC emphasizes the urgency for addressing health needs in the eastern Greater Toronto Area. SAMIH is also intended to be an inclusive hub for healthcare providers in Scarborough.

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Diamond Schmitt Architects was working as Architect of Record on this project, but the article has been revised to reflect that MVRDV and Diamond Schmitt Architects have designed the building collaboratively.

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Related Companies:  Bousfields, Crossey Engineering, Diamond Schmitt Architects, EllisDon