A look into the SLC through Minecraft

The Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre (SLC) is regarded as the crown jewel of Ryerson’s campus in the heart of downtown Toronto. A standout piece of architecture amongst Ryeron’s other buildings, it’s no surprise that it catches the attention of photographers, content creators, and anyone passing by. 

However, its strengths don’t exclusively lie on the exterior. Within the building itself, students can find spaces where they can study, have meetings, and hang out. But due to COVID-19, the SLC is no longer accessible to students, giving them a serious case of FOMO. 

Usama Niametullah wanted to solve those cases of FOMO, and wanted to bring that architectural beauty to the new media Minecraft server. He explained how the SLC project came to be, which was in the form of a winter social from the Ryerson E-Sports Club. He figured that since the students can’t go to the SLC, he brought the SLC to them through Minecraft. 

In terms of the actual build project itself, Niamtullah said that he wanted the project to resemble the SLC as much as possible, with his focus mainly on the exterior of the build. 

“I wanted to get the outside structure right,” he said. “I wanted it to look as SLC as possible.”

Aside from the exterior, Niametullah and his team of builders were just as determined as getting the interior right as they did with the exterior. He said him and his team recreated the interior, down to the furniture, and even the Starbucks in the lobby.

To prepare for the build, Niametullah and his team prepared by obtaining specific measurements of the actual SLC itself. Preparation came in the form of taking reference pictures of each floor, and obtaining a blueprint of the SLC which was available online. 

Niametullah then explained that tasks were divided up between each team member. All in all, “not much planning went into this build,” he said. 

“The blueprint was useful because it shows you exactly how long and wide each measurement is,” said Niamtullah. “Obviously, we couldn’t recreate it 1 to 1, because that would be really difficult to do.” 

Although this build was originally meant for the new media Minecraft server, Niametullah said that it became more of a hang out spot for the build team. 

“Afterwards, we stuck around with it and it became our hub world,” said Niametullah. “It was like the spawn point for our hub world, other than the [new media] Minecraft server.” 

If you’ve ever played Minecraft before, in both the game’s ‘survival’ and ‘creative mode’, you may find that playing through the game and building can be a tedious task. With a build this large, there’s no doubt that this project took a lot of willpower, backed by motivation. But with this project, Niametullah had thought otherwise. 

“It was pretty fun,” he said. “it’s a pretty tedious project I agree. But it was really fun and it was mostly just a bunch of friends working on it too.” 

Current details regarding the accessibility and opening of this build are unclear at the moment, but Niametullah says that minigames, survival contests, and various other events were planned and are to be held with the opening of the SLC, as well as the virtual campus.