U of T’s Eric Arthur Gallery: 125th Anniversary Exhibition

As an Arts & Science student, I find myself restricted to the areas on campus reserved for classes and events specific to my faculty. I’ve made it a point to try and branch out by exploring the things other faculties have to offer. This includes visiting the Eric Arthur Gallery within what I’ve always assumed to be this totally nondescript building along College Street. (Branching out also includes teaching myself the ukulele in hopes that the Faculty of Music will acknowledge my hidden musical talent and accept me as their own.) 
The UofT building sign for the Daniels Faculty.
The Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design is located at 230 College Street, on the edge of Huron. (Photo courtesy of Michael Mousa, subject including yours truly)

Turns out that this building on College that I’ve passed by so many times the past three years is the John H. Daniels building for the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Inside is the Eric Arthur Gallery, currently celebrating the 125th anniversary of the architecture program at U of T. The exhibit provides a retrospective look at the history of architecture and the evolution of its teaching tools within the scope of our university.

A large open space inside the Faculty of Architecture. The wall on the right provides a textual description of the exhibition. To the left is the start of the historical timeline, beginning in 1890.
Inside the Eric Arthur Gallery during the 125th Anniversary exhibition.

I was surprised that I’d never heard of this gallery before. While UTAC and the Justina M. Barnicke galleries are two (free) art galleries on campus (see Amie's post from the archives about the UTAC!), the Eric Arthur is geared towards architectural exhibitions, which may be why I’d never heard of it until now. I loved the layout of the exhibition the second I walked in, just because anything that is organized cleanly makes me feel very satisfied.

The gallery overlooks College Street. Here we see a plaster replica of Michelangelo's Moses, created by past architecture students. Along the wall are negatives of glass slides used by architects from the school.
The gallery overlooks College Street. Here we see a plaster replica of Michelangelo's Moses, created by past architecture students. Along the wall are negatives of glass slides used by architects from the school.

This exhibit celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Faculty of Architecture is primarily displayed as a timeline, starting from the inception of the program in 1890 and going up by five-year intervals to present day. The timeline is cleverly and meticulously organized; each interval showcases photographs of student life at the time, followed by administrative and professional developments within the faculty, course syllabi and assignments, newspaper clippings and photographs depicting important events in Canadian, architectural and world history respectively.

One part of the timeline along the wall divided into 5 shelves. The first shelf contains 3D letters that denote the year as 1935. Within the same shelf is a piece of paper from a course assignment during that time period. The next shelf underneath contains newspaper clippings. The shelf below that contains photos and captions denoting important events in Canadian history. Below that, pictures of important international architectural events. Below that, world events.
Some of the events related to architectural design and education occurring during 1935.
Piece of paper from a 1935 UofT Architecture Exam. The paper describes detailed instructions. Students must draw and design a room with the appropriate proportions and requirements demanded for in the instructions.
A close-up of a question on an architecture exam circa 1935. Always nice to see that the pain of writing a university exam is something that transcends temporal boundaries!!

There are also other features of the exhibition like old artifacts used by architecture students in particular time periods.

A table lined with geometry sets, rulers, compasses, and colour swatches used by past students.
Equipment used in the past by students in the Faculty, photo taken at a terrifying bad angle.
A table in the gallery with three really old, really large computers that contained graphics software that was used by design students.
Some of the first archaic forms of computer technology used by students in the Daniels Faculty studying design. These were used in the '80s!

If you’re interested in architecture and/or the history of our school, this exhibit is a fantastic look at U of T’s legacy. There is so much information dropped on you at once that I was very content to spend a long amount of time wandering around the gallery during my break between classes. The gallery is free and this exhibit runs until October 2. I’d love to come back to see what other exhibits they plan on holding next!

A selfie I took with the plaster replica of Michelangelo's Moses statue with the caption "#art". I added sparkles to the photo to make it fabulous
Does art really exist if no one is there to appreciate it/take a selfie with it??

The St. George campus is so big that sometimes we glaze over buildings that turn out to be super interesting. What places have you discovered on campus that have surprised you? Let me know in the comments or Instagram a photo of it and tag us at @lifeatuoft!

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