12 Storey Tall Wood Tower to Be Built on Toronto Waterfront

©. George Brown College

Moriyama & Teshima Architects + Acton Ostry Architects win design competition.

Things are happening so fast in the wood world these days that it is hard to keep up. We had not even covered Toronto's George Brown College shortlist of architects for a tall wood building for its new waterfront campus when they announced the winner. It is Moriyama and Teshima, a long-time favourite in these parts, and Acton Ostry Architects, who built what is for the moment the world's tallest timber tower in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Atrium Arbour 1

© George Brown CollegeThe 12 storey tall Arbour Building (sorry for all the Canadian spellings here, lots of extra e's and u's) "is expected to be net-positive, reducing the college’s carbon footprint, and in turn, lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Once built, students and researchers will learn to design, construct, operate, and monitor climate-friendly buildings." It is also going to be a "smart" building that's "networked, intelligent, sensitive, and adaptable. With building automation at the forefront of design and development innovation, this project provides an opportunity to create a facility that can integrate, adapt, monitor, and test latest technologies as well as share best practices with industry and students."

Persective Arbour 1

© George Brown College

According to the press release,

In selecting the winning design, the jury said, “the concept excelled across all aspects of the selection criteria: innovative use of wood throughout; excellent energy use that makes the building resilient and future-proof; exquisite space planning that supports a range of classroom, lab and other academic needs; and spaces that will have a strong resonance with students and the broader East Bayfront community.”
Stair arbour 1

© George Brown College

Once complete, The Arbour will host Canada’s first Tall Wood Research Institute, allowing students and researchers to generate innovative ideas and research in low-carbon, mass timber construction. It will also become home to the college’s School of Computer Technology, and a new child care facility.

Construction will start in 2021, presumably to allow building code changes that make 12 storeys legal in Ontario.

The architects are happy campers: "We look forward to ushering in a new era in Canada's design and building industry for our collective low-carbon future,” said representatives from Moriyama & Teshima Architects + Acton Ostry Architects."

Perhaps better late than never, here are the runners-up:

Shigeru Ban + Brook McIlroy

© Shigeru Ban + Brook McIlroy via George Brown College

Patkau Architects + MJMA

© Patkau Architects + MJMA via George Brown College

Provencher Roy + Turner Fleischer

© Provencher Roy + Turner Fleischer via George Brown College