George Brown College breaks ground on Ontario’s first tall-wood mass-timber, net-zero carbon emissions building


Ontario Construction News staff writer

George Brown College officially broke ground this week on Limberlost Place, a 10-storey mass-timber building on the Toronto waterfront. Officials at a ground-breaking ceremony on Dec. 14 say the building will raise the bar for sustainable construction and design.

Construction is underway at the corner of Queens Quay East and Lower Sherbourne Street, just north of the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences. Limberlost Place is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024.

Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve near Huntsville, was the inspiration for the name of the building, formerly called The Arbour.

limberlost groundbreaking

It will be a model of mass-timber construction and eco-friendly design. The building will harness green energy from the surrounding environment using solar chimneys, rooftop photovoltaics and deep-water cooling.

Project highlights include:

  • Made in Canada: All mass timber components are sourced nationally.
  • Net-zero ready: Limberlost Place will be capable of generating the same amount of energy it uses.
  • Living lab: Students will learn in and from the facility and the innovative techniques and materials used to construct it.
  • Centre for research and innovation: Limberlost Place will house the Brookfield Sustainability Institute (BSI) where students, community partners and industry can connect to develop solutions to problems caused by accelerating climate change.

The building design was created by the team of Moriyama and Teshima Architects and Acton Ostry Architects.

Toronto-based Moriyama and Teshima Architects has received more than 200 awards, including six Governor-General’s Medals for architecture and Vancouver-based Acton Ostry Architects recently completed the Brock Commons Tallwood House, an 18-storey student residence at the University of British Columbia.

Limberlost Place will house the School of Architectural Studies, the School of Computer Technology and a new childcare facility. It will also house a research hub called the Brookfield Sustainability Institute. The building will also dedicate space to Truth and Reconciliation and to celebrating Indigenous culture.

The building will not use fossil fuels for heating or cooling and will have the ability to generate the same amount of energy it consumes in part through solar energy and deep-water cooling.

“Limberlost Place highlights the future leadership role George Brown will play in the city’s Waterfront development as a sustainable city. This innovative and stylish addition to the city skyline will add to the vitality and modernization of Toronto’s beautiful waterfront and will enhance the facilities of George Brown students to work, study, learn and grow. We welcome students from around the world and we are excited to experience a uniquely Canadian building,” said Dr. Gervan Fearon, President of George Brown College.



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