Ontario to reach new heights with tall wood building

George Brown College is planning Ontario’s first tall wood institutional building, which will be located near the college’s Waterfront Campus (pictured above).
Photo courtesy George Brown College

In the wake of Brock Commons’ opening in July, another tall wood building is being planned for Canada. George Brown College is moving forward with construction of Ontario’s first tall wood institutional building, which will be known as ‘the Arbour’ and, appropriately, play host to a tall wood building research institute.

The 12-storey structure is planned for George Brown’s Waterfront Campus, north of the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences, which is certified to Gold under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

“Waterfront Toronto is pleased to welcome this new carbon-neutral facility to the East Bayfront neighbourhood as another example of sustainable development on Toronto’s waterfront that showcases next-generation green building technologies,” said Will Fleissig, CEO of Waterfront Toronto. “This facility joins a burgeoning innovation and technology corridor that is fostering creative, knowledge-based jobs and creating opportunities for Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs.”

The structure is intended to serve as a learning space for the design and construction of environmentally responsible buildings—both during and after its construction—and as a reflection of the college’s commitment to sustainability. It will employ smart building systems to support its carbon-neutral target, and contain a Centre for Information and Computer Technology for the college as well as a new child care facility, in addition to its research space.

“This distinctive new location will help us contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental stability while supporting our continued intention to create campus environments that are innovative, creative, and stimulating for student learning,” said Anne Sado, the college’s president.

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9 comments on “Ontario to reach new heights with tall wood building”

  1. It should be called “funeral pyre”. No amount of sprinklers or other protection can prevent the whole thing going up in a magnificent flaming inferno. Combustible materials will burn no matter what.

    1. I agree with Andrew Mason re. fire protection. Who will guarantee the adequate supply of water and the performance of the sprinkler system under catastrophic conditions, such as earthquakes or extreme storms induced by climate change? In addition, I am concerned about the long term performance of the structural connections, as we all know wood shrinks and expands in time with changes in air humidity. By the way, the Ontario Building Code requires non-combustible construction for 12-storey high buildings. Would the chief building official consider an alternative solution? I hope not for his/her piece of mind and the safety of the future occupants of the building.

      1. CLT is an engineered structural wood product that can parallel and potentially surpass the fire resistance and structural properties of both steel and reinforced concrete. Glulam, along with many other timbre construction products are very similar in their fire resistance properties. The designers of the buildings aren’t using dried sticks and stones or firewood. The products used for this kind of development is and has been tested and true. Please don’t post ignorant and negative comments – you look like downers and make it seem like nothing a bit different or revolutionary is possible.

  2. You two have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about…..
    Please do a little research before typing in uninformed comments.

  3. Here here!! I was involved in the Brock Commons project and if that building burns down, it will be catastrophic!! No building construction will survive. CLT is only new to Canada/North America. They have been building like this in Northern Europe for years. Agreed….there needs to be a little more education before knee jerk comments.

  4. Wow, I thought we were educated people reading this stuff, but the first two comments prove me wrong. Ill-informed and wrong on so many points. Guys, do some research and educate yourselves.

  5. This sounds like a very interesting new building. I’d like to get in touch with the people involved.
    Instrumentation and inference should be able to empower a lot about the state of the building itself, as well as its use and how that evolves over time.

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