With the growth of the Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics departments in the University’s first decades, Ryerson was becoming overcrowded. Complaints of classes held in offices and inadequate space to house all departments led to plans in the 1920s for an additional building to the east.
In early plans Eckhart was spoken of as another laboratory, but the need for offices and classrooms led it to be designed with all three. Physics laboratories and workspace were located in the basement and first floor for the superior stability they offered. Much of the rest of the building was for mathematics classrooms, with workspace for Astronomy on the fourth floor and offices throughout. A large library on the second floor consolidated departments’ collections.
Eckhart was also designed for meetings and conferences, with a large auditorium on the first floor and, on the second, a tea room for social gatherings. A room for exhibits to the side of the tea room held displays that extended into the hall.