Government of Canada Invests in Construction of Modern Tall Wood Building in Toronto

Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament for Spadina–Fort York, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, announced on May 30th, a $4.1-million investment to build a 10-storey tall wood building in Toronto.

Construction of The Arbour, a $134-million project at George Brown College’s Waterfront Campus, will use an estimated 3,000 cubic metres of wood and will be a new, net-zero carbon emissions academic wood structure.

The Arbour

George Brown College announced in late March 2018 that Moriyama & Teshima Architects + Acton Ostry Architects had been selected from a shortlist of four projects to design The Arbour. The Arbour will house the School of Architectural Studies and the School of Computer Technology.

Poised to transform the Toronto skyline, the team’s eye-catching design for the planned facility features breathing rooms — using solar chimney systems to capture and harness light and air for sustainable natural ventilation. The building design also offers flexibility of learning spaces, enabling walls to expand and contract as needed, as well as a “Made in Canada” approach using nationally sourced mass wood components.

The Arbour

“Mass timber engineering keeps getting better, creating new opportunities in the Canadian construction industry. We know how important innovative forest products are to meeting climate change targets, creating jobs, stimulating economic growth and building more resilient communities.” said Vaughan.

Construction of this $130-million building is scheduled to begin in 2021 at the southeast corner of Queens Quay East and Lower Sherbourne Street, across the street from the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences at Waterfront Campus.

Both during its construction and once complete, The Arbour will serve as a living laboratory where students and researchers will learn to design, construct, operate and monitor climate-friendly buildings. It will also house a new childcare facility to serve the growing community.

The Arbour

“The funding announcement in support of The Arbour at George Brown College is not only essential for the project, it is an important investment in our collective low-carbon future. The funding will, among many other benefits, make possible the testing and development of the project’s structural innovations as well as enable the rigorous proofs required to introduce changes to the building codes.  Achieving The Arbour, a larger scale low-carbon, highly sustainable public building, will open doors for the future developments and accelerate the growth of the mass timber industry in Canada by inspiring change.” said Carol Phillips, Moriyama & Teshima Architects.

The Arbour

George Brown continues to demonstrate a commitment to sustainable development with The Arbour. The college aiming to construct a net-positive building. The Arbour will be flexible and future proof, equipped with smart building systems that are networked, intelligent and adaptable. The building will also be designed to adjust to changing academic uses and a changing climate.

According to Natural Resources Canada, “Residential and commercial buildings are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and using low-carbon construction products, such as wood, supports Canada’s climate change objectives. Building tall with wood also means using advanced wood building systems and engineered mass timber products to meet and exceed building code requirements.”

The Arbour

The Arbour is the first project funded through the Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) program, which received $39.8 million over four years in Budget 2017. GCWood encourages the use of wood in non-traditional construction projects, such as tall buildings, low-rise non-residential buildings and bridges. It aims to position Canada as a world leader in tall wood construction and the low-carbon economy.

The Arbour

The Arbour will also serve as an important research centre focused on mass-timber construction. The Mass Timber Research Hub will support the development of innovative new ideas and practices in sustainable building. George Brown College Professor Christopher Timusk will serve as our Mass Timber Research Chair. Timusk is a specialist in the areas of building sciences and wood composite materials.

The Arbour
The Arbour
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1 Comment
  1. Brian Trimble says

    All of these renderings of the interior of the building are wrong – fire codes will require all of that exposed wood be covered with 1 to 3 layers of gypsum board so it is unlikely you will see much wood at all.

    And without government assistance, this structure would not be economically viable.

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