Just over a year ago, the University of Toronto announced plans to build a new timber-framed tower above the north end of the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, designed by Patkau Architects of Vancouver and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) of Toronto. Plans for the Academic Wood Tower were submitted to the City later in the year, seeking rezoning to permit the 14-storey building on Devonshire Place, just south of Bloor Street.

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

This week, plans for the new wood tower were resubmitted to the City. The second submission addresses comments received from City staff following the 2018 submission with a number of minor revisions to the building's internal components, as well as more prominent changes to the project’s crystalline massing and exterior envelope.

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

The tower’s relationship with the existing Goldring Centre below has been modified. An expansion of the faceted tower base puts increased focus on a glass reveal framing angled supports that extend the design language of the existing Goldring Centre. This expanded reveal section now matches the Goldring Centre’s height to create less of a visual separation between the base and tower above.

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

The glazed exterior framing wood structural elements seen in the initial submission has been partially replaced by a Concrete Skin Panel Wall exterior in a timber or sandstone-colour finish along the south, east, and west facades. The north facade—with less year-round sun exposure than the other elevations—retains the glazed facade highlighting timber structural elements presented in the 2018 submission.

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

If approved, the project’s mass timber frame—8 storeys taller than the maximum of six storeys for timber buildings permitted in the Ontario Building Code (OBC)—would require a site-specific amendment to the OBC to move forward. Beyond this obstacle, the realization of the new tower could happen quite quickly thanks to the recently built Goldring Centre having been engineered to support the load of a tower at its north end.

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

As proposed, the building would 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.

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

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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Related Companies:  Bousfields, EllisDon, LiveRoof Ontario Inc, MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, Patkau Architects, University of Toronto, Walters Group