University of Toronto Academic Wood Tower
Client : University of Toronto
Area : 126,400 sf
Program : Rotman Executive Programs, Munk School of Global Affairs, Faculty of Arts & Science, Classrooms, Lecture Halls, Computer Labs, Research Labs, Study Spaces, Office Space, Meeting Rooms, Conference Space, Event and Performance Space, Catering Kitchen, Cafeteria, Accessible Roof Terrace, Administrative and Support Spaces
Associated Architects : Patkau Architects
When complete, this innovative mass timber structure will add new academic program space to five of the University of Toronto’s faculties, with the Rotman School for Executive Education the primary tenant. By increasing density on an urban campus already fully developed within its borders, the Tower will add office, meeting, and presentation rooms, labs and classrooms, all without disrupting existing mid-block pedestrian connections. The topmost level of the tower will host a premier events and performance space boasting two commercial kitchens and a banquet hall able to host up to 180 people with stunning panoramic views of the Toronto skyline.
The Tower’s footprint overlaps with the north end of the existing Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. The Tower itself rises above it in the airspace directly south of the Munk School, a heritage masonry building in the Romanesque Revival style. Where the Tower is integrated with the Goldring Centre, it projects outward in a new glazed section of sculpted angles canted toward the neighbouring football field to the east; this projection shelters a large public plaza on the street below, landscaped to host public events. To the west, a new pathway will link the tower to the existing Rotman School.
When the Goldring Centre was completed in 2014, its foundation was built to support a future steel tower, providing an ample basis for the Tower’s total wood structural system, comprising glulam beams, columns, cores, and braces, with CLT floor decks. As a 14-storey mass timber structure rising nearly 265 feet, the Tower will be an iconic landmark on campus, a watershed example of the flexible design solutions offered by wood-framed structures, and a touchstone for future tall timber construction in Canada.
The use of a mass timber structure offers significant environmental benefits thanks to its inherent carbon sequestration. This sustainability measure is supplemented by a host of others—a high-performance building envelope with moderate glazing, R40 opaque walls and a triple-glazed curtainwall; rainwater collection for use in greywater supply and irrigation; onsite energy generation, including a photovoltaic array; and a green roof. The Tower is also a part of the University’s Living Labs program, which gives students and faculty the opportunity to engage directly with the advanced material solutions used throughout this groundbreaking structure.