Construction has commenced on the University of Toronto's latest addition, a likely architectural landmark on the north side of College Street just east of Queen's Park Crescent and designed by New York-based Weiss/Manfredi Architects alongside local firm Teeple Architects. The recent demolition of the 1954-built Best building—part of the Banting and Best complex—cleared the way for the first step in constructing the Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre, a complex set to feature paired 12 and 20-storey tapered trapezoidal towers.
Work is starting at the west end of the site, with the eastern 1930-built Banting building remaining active until movement begins for the second phase. The first phase western tower will be the shorter of the phases, rising 12 storeys and containing 250,000 ft² of institutional space.
Demolition of the former Best building's basement wrapped up in March, followed by backfilling to make way for heavy equipment. Backfilling concluded and the first drilling rig arrived on the site at the start of April, beginning the first actual construction for the new complex. For this initial stage of construction, boreholes are drilled around the site's perimeter, into which steel I-beams are inserted. They will be the vertical supports for below-grade shoring walls that will hold the surrounding soil in place during excavation.
Steel I-beams now protrude from the north, east, and west sides of the site, while orange spraypaint marks the locations of future boreholes along the site's south side. Once this final row is completed, excavation will follow soon after, a dig down of one and a half levels to make space for the building's foundations and underground levels.
The 12-storey, 250,000 ft² first phase will provide new space for 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.
This phase is to be followed by a 20-storey, 500,000 ft² tower to the east, for a combined 750,000 ft² of new institutional space across the complex. The second phase will contain laboratories and research space for innovators in regenerative medicine, genetics and precision medicine.
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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