The University of Toronto (U of T) made waves in the local architecture world when in Spring, 2018 their plan to build the tallest mass timber and concrete hybrid building in North America was announced. More details emerged in September, 2018, when the U of T submitted their plans to the City, seeking rezoning to permit the proposed 14-storey, timber-frame Academic Wood Tower above the north end of the recently constructed Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.

Looking northwest to Academic Wood Tower, image via submission to City of Toronto

Designed by Patkau Architects of Vancouver and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) of Toronto, the project's initial design evolved with an April, 2019 resubmission for zoning which addressed concerns raised by City staff to details of the 2018 submission. Revisions were made to some of the building's internal components and elements of the project’s crystalline massing and building envelope.

Looking southwest to Academic Wood Tower, image via submission to City of Toronto

The plan has since advanced again, with a May, 2020 application now seeking Site Plan Approval (SPA) including a number of minor revisions and clarifications. Again, there are changes that address comments received from City staff to the previous submission, while also seeking to clear conditions to have the plan proceed to City Council for approval.

Looking south to Academic Wood Tower, image via submission to City of Toronto

Clarifications concerning the tower's exterior cladding are included in the revised application, specifying that it is proposed with a glass fibre-reinforced concrete panel or cement board panel system in a custom colour in a warm tonal range. This durable material—with a natural texture formed during the fabrication process—is to be installed in a board-like format with large reveals, to evoke a wood-like finish that ties in with the timber themes.

Looking west to 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 below.

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