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University of Toronto announces plans for mass timber project

Academic tower will be tallest wood-cement hybrid in North America

The University of Toronto has announced plans for a 14-storey mass timber academic tower for its downtown Toronto campus.

Announced on May 7, the building will be constructed of cross-laminated timber (CLT) – large, strong wood panels created by gluing together smaller panels of wood – and will be the tallest mass timber and concrete hybrid building in North America.

According to a U of T news release, the build will be financed by university funds, philanthropy, and government subsidies available under the province’s Mass Timber Program.

Funding for the Mass Timber Program totalling $7.8 million was announced on April 25. The program is designed to help fund demonstration projects that facilitate research into the benefits of building with wood, which include a low carbon footprint, fire safety and faster construction time.

For Northern Ontario, the use of wood in more construction projects means a boost to the forestry industry, which could increase production and create more jobs.

The Toronto academic tower, being built atop the Goldring Centre, is being designed by Patkau Architects of Vancouver, MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA) of Toronto and Blackwell Structural Engineers of Toronto.

Zoning changes are still required before the project can move to the construction phase, which is expected to get underway near the end of 2019.