Over the last decade, Toronto’s East Bayfront community has been the focal point of a drastic waterfront revitalization effort. More recently the eastern-Downtown Waterfront area has emerged as a highly designed and forward looking mixed-use community through the activation of a handful of projects that offer places to live, work, learn, and enjoy the outdoors — and before too long, another new place to learn will also be added to that list. 

The last six months of construction have seen notable progress in bringing George Brown College’s highly-anticipated Limberlost Place to life, a project which has become a key component of the College’s net-zero goals. Designed by the team of Moriyama Teshima and Acton Ostry Architects, the mass timber-build has grown into a hive of activity above Queens Quay East, with the installation of a number of key design features beginning to tie it all together. 

Looking southeast to Limberlost Place, rising above Queens Quay, image by UT Forum contributor ProjectEnd

Beginning with a general look at the site, we can see that the building now enjoys seven complete floors, with timber columns already in place for the eighth. Slated to stand ten storeys in its entirety, this puts the building at about 75% completion structurally, however, with the vaulted roof design planned for the uppermost floor, the final level could prove to be the most technical of them all. Meanwhile, on the cladding front, the installation process began with the glazing-only section of the building envelope, located at the northeast corner of the building.

This particular section of the building’s exterior deviates materially from the rest of the envelope in order to highlight one of the feature interior spaces of the design, the lofty three-story atrium, with the all-glazed treatment of the exterior allowing more light to fill the space. Getting a closer look at the glazing system during its installation process in the image below, we can see how the glass fin detail fits in. The translucent fins begin at the second level, and are fixed directly to the curtainwall panels, with narrow gaps seen between them where one panel ends and another begins. 

Detail shot of exterior finishes for 3-storey atrium section, image by UT Forum contributor canadaniel

Zooming out to view the progress on another defining aspect of Limberlost Place’s exterior expression, the projecting volume of the building’s primary (east) elevation is now extensively framed with a robust steel structure. The design adds visual interest to the building’s exterior by incorporating an angled face, while also serving an important interior role as well, delivering a flexible space that will be known as the breathing room. 

Looking up at steel frame of projecting volume on East elevation, image by UT Forum contributor Riseth

Finally, the last few months of construction work also saw the installation of the timber-built pedestrian bridge that will provide an enclosed connection between Limberlost Place and its neighbour to the south, George Brown College’s Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences. Assembled on site while construction work continued around it, the bridge was hoisted into place in the last week of March, with the help of a mobile hydraulic crane.

Mobile Hydraulic crane lifts timber bridge into place connection Limberlost Place and neighbouring building, image by UT Forum contributor ProjectEnd

Pictured in context in the image below, the bridge is a small but significant convenience for the end users of the building. Defined by a triangular truss motif on both sides, the design attempts to connect the two buildings visually as well as physically. 

Pedestrian bridge affixed after having been lifted into place, image by UT Forum contributor canadaniel

Targeting completion in early 2024, Limberlost Place is well on its way to delivering a new state of the art academic facility to George Brown College’s growing Waterfront campus. The building will achieve net-zero operating emissions through the use of solar power and Deep Lake Water Cooling, and represents a high standard of sustainable design that will be a welcomed addition to the east Waterfront. 

UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on this development, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, 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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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

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