Big news broke in May, when it was announced that the University of Toronto was planning a new timber-frame tower to be constructed above the north end of the recently constructed Goldring Centre for High-Performance Sport on Devonshire Place. The 14-storey tower's announcement has now been followed by the submission of a zoning amendment application to the City, and the supporting documentation includes plenty of new details. An exception to the Ontario Building Code will also be required for a timber building this tall, similar to what is being sought for George Brown College's 'The Arbour' on the city's waterfront.

U of T: Academic Wood Tower, image via submission to City of Toronto

The Academic Wood Tower is designed by Patkau Architects of Vancouver and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) of Toronto, the same team who designed the 2014-completed Goldring Centre from which the tower is to sprout. 80.5 metres high to the top of an architectural screen, and 11,965 square metres in area with a maximum floorplate of 865 square metres, the tower is proposed to be constructed wth advanced mass timber components, its underlying structure of glue-laminated (glulam) timber beams, columns, and trusses, to be visible through the exterior glazing. The materials legend includes double-glazed clear glass with a neutral colour and low-e coating along with Öko Skin cementitious panels making up the primary exterior cladding.

U of T: Academic Wood Tower, image via submission to City of Toronto

Floorplates are Isosceles Trapezoids with the shorter face to the south, but at the crown of the building, the peak flares out. A pair of diagrams show the building's profile behind University College as seen looking north on King's College Road, the first below from College Street, and the second below from King's College Circle. Hidden from close up, as one moves south from King's College Circle, the Academic Wood Tower is gradually revealed behind University College, creating a dialogue with its irregular roofline of turrets and spires .

Diagram showing views from the south, image via submission to City of Toronto

The building is meant add new classrooms, study areas, research labs, meeting rooms, offices, and dining and event spaces for the U of T's Rotman School of Business, the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, the Mathematical Finance Program, and Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. The occupying departments have been known since May, though the new documents show the location of spaces within the building.

No additional structure is required below the Goldring Centre to support the new tower, as it was engineered to anticipate an expansion. Ground level enhancements include a lobby to connect the existing building and new portion via elevators. A projecting glass atrium along Devonshire Place will connect via staircases new and existing parts of the complex through angular volumes that match the Goldring Centre's modern aesthetic.  

Glazed addition and staircase, east elevation, image via submission to City of Toronto

Floors 2 and 3 are to be home to the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, with classroom, seminar, common, lab, and breakout spaces. Floor 4 is to serve as a space for Academic and Campus Events and will have access to the green roof of the Goldring Centre. Floors 5 and 6 are to house the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, with classroom, study, and office spaces. Mathematical Finance Program would take up space on the 7th floor for classrooms, conference, and meeting rooms, and The Munk School would occupy office and classroom space on the 8th floor. The 9th floor and above are to house spaces for the Rotman School of Business. A standout space is a proposed 14th-floor dining hall with ceiling heights up to 10.9 metres, serving the Rotman Executive program and doubling as a banquet and event space. 

Cross-section layout of the building, image via submission to City of Toronto

We will return with updates as additional information becomes available. In the meantime, you can review project details by visiting our database file, 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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