In 2017, George Brown College launched an international competition in collaboration with Toronto Planning and Waterfront Toronto seeking designs for what was initially proposed to be a 12-storey wood-framed, Net Zero Carbon Emission building. In March 2018, the winning design team of Moriyama & Teshima and British Columbia-based Acton Ostry Architects was announced. Over one year later, the proposal known as The Arbour has most recently been refined for a Site Plan Approval submission, introducing a series of changes that bring the project closer to reality.

The Arbour, George Brown College, Waterfront Campus, TorontoLooking southwest to The Arbour, image via submission to City of Toronto

The latest revisions introduced in the SPA submission come as a result of feedback from City Planning and the Waterfront Toronto Design Review Panel (WTDRP). Among the changes is a reduction in floor count, from 12 to 10 storeys, while individual floor heights have been raised. The result is that the previously-proposed 52.5-metre height remains unchanged. 

The Arbour, George Brown College, Waterfront Campus, TorontoLooking west to The Arbour, image via submission to City of Toronto

Updated architectural plans include plenty of details about the material finishes planned for the building’s exterior. The main finish will come in the form of a terra cotta cladding in vertical strips with a striated pattern, joined by a mix of glass and aluminum fins, as well as a large section of curtainwall glazing framing the ground floor’s northeast corner.

The Arbour, George Brown College, Waterfront Campus, TorontoLooking south to The Arbour, image via submission to City of Toronto

An anticipated approval by City Council is just one of the steps required to make the project a reality, as the current Ontario Building Code (OBC) limits timber-frame structures to a height of six storeys. The Arbour—along with other tall wood buildings planned in the City—will require site-specific exemptions from OBC regulations to move forward.

George Brown expects to begin construction of the $130-million building in 2021, with the building to open as early as 2024. Upon completion, The Arbour would serve as the home for Canada's first Tall Wood Research Institute, as well as a new child care facility to serve the growing East Bayfront community.

Additional information and images can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

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