On the north side of College Street just east of Queen's Park Crescent, the slate is being cleared for a project for the University of Toronto that's set to become a local landmark. The anticipated Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre will feature a standout of two tapered trapezoidal towers designed by New York-based Weiss/Manfredi Architects alongside local firm Teeple Architects, that will bring 750,000 ft² of new institutional space to U of T upon completion; a 12-storey, 250,000 ft² tower on the west side of the site, and a matching 20-storey second phase that will bring an additional 500,000 ft² of space.
In advance of constructing the two towers, crews have begun to demolish the existing Banting and Best buildings on site, starting with the 1954-built Best building where the first phase 12-storey tower will rise.
The first signs of work were spotted late in 2019 with the start of interior demolition at the Best building. Earlier this month, demolition began on the structure itself, with the first cuts being made into the brickwork surrounding the building’s punched windows. A few weeks after excavators took their first bites out of the building, roughly half of the Best building has been reduced to rubble.
Demolition of the five-storey building has been moving from west to east, and recently a mobile crane was positioned east of the partially demolished building to hold protective netting in place, which will absorb the energy of building materials being knocked down, removing the possibility of bounces beyond the secured area. The adjacent 1930-built Banting building will also be removed in the near future to make way for the Innovation Centre's taller second phase.
The first phase tower will be home to both the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society as well as the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence, specializing in deep learning and machine learning research. The upcoming second phase will contain laboratories and research space for innovators in regenerative medicine, genetics and precision medicine. Both phases are rendered as complete in the image below.
You can learn more from our Database file for the project, linked below. If you'd like to, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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