George Brown College plans 12-storey tall wood research institute building at Waterfront Campus

gbc arbour site
Site of the proposed "The Arbour" building at George Brown College's waterfront campus

George Brown College in Toronto says it plans to construct the province’s first tall wood institutional building. The planned 12-storey, carbon neutral facility will be home to a tall wood building research institute.

The college says the building named “The Arbour” will serve as a living laboratory both during its construction and once complete, where students and researchers will learn to design, construct, operate and monitor climate friendly buildings.

It will be located on George Brown’s Waterfront Campus, to the north of the LEED Gold certified Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences. The college recently purchased the land from the City of Toronto.

The college says it will “launch an international design competition among the firms uniquely qualified to undertake such a project” in the fall.

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

Several tall wood projects have been completed around the world in recent years, demonstrating successful applications of new wood and mass timber technologies. In addition to the opportunity for design innovation, mass timber construction has many other advantages, making it an innovative approach in sustainable building efforts.

“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,” Waterfront Toronto’s president and CEO Will Fleissig said in a statement. “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 college says in a statement that The Arbour will become a demonstration facility that drives forward advancements in sustainable innovation and helps support the development of green buildings throughout Canada. George Brown also sees the new site as an “opportunity to build on its commitment to provide environmentally sustainable campuses,” the news release says.

A key element in the creation of a low carbon campus will be the integration of smart building systems: networked, intelligent, sensitive and adaptable. With building automation at the forefront of design and development innovation, this project provides an opportunity to create a facility that can integrate, adapt, monitor and test latest technologies and share best practices with industry and students.

The college says the project will include:

  • Research facilities that will continue to build the college’s strength as an innovation leader;
  • George Brown’s Centre for Information and Computer Technology to support and complement the City of Toronto’s Smart City initiative; and
  • A new child care facility – George Brown’s 10th in the city to meet growing community needs.

The news release does not provide an indication of the projected cost or anticipated completion date for the new building.



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