George Brown's mass-timber building
Construction is underway on Limberlost Place, the latest addition to George Brown College's Waterfront Campus. Our mass timber, net zero carbon emissions project will be the first institutional building of its kind in Ontario. Limberlost Place will welcome students in January 2025.
A global model of mass-timber construction
George Brown College's commitment to the development of Toronto's East Bayfront community continues with Limberlost Place, a 10-storey building currently under construction at Queens Quay East and Dockside Drive.
Limberlost Place is years ahead of Toronto's 2030 goals for sustainable design and performance for new developments, and it has become a global model for mass timber sustainable construction. Built with made-in-Canada mass-timber components, the design provides generous spaces focused on well-being by maximizing access to natural light and fresh air.
Students will learn in and from this flexible and future-proof facility, equipped with networked and adaptable smart building systems designed to adjust to changing academic uses.
Limberlost Place will be the new home of the School of Architectural Studies, the School of Computer Technology, and the Brookfield Sustainability Institute (BSI), a community learning hub dedicated to research and innovation around sustainability. Limberlost Place will also house a childcare centre that will serve the community."This is an exciting moment for Toronto as we continue the hard work to rebuild our city post-pandemic. The new Limberlost Place will not only add to our growing waterfront and to George Brown's already established reputation but will help us move further in our climate action goals with its net-zero carbon emissions."Toronto Mayor John Tory, December 2021
Addressing climate change and promoting innovation
Limberlost Place continues to attract Canadian and international recognition for its design excellence and innovation.
The building will harness green energy from the surrounding environment, including Lake Ontario. Two solar chimneys, the engines of the passive ventilation system, will draw air up and through the building from operable windows. The design also features a 40 per cent window-to-wall ratio, and the building will be outfitted with smart daylight sensors and dimming controls.
- Limberlost Place will be able to operate passively 50 per cent of the year.
- The building will run with no fuel-fired systems. Electric systems are more energy efficient and represent a cleaner form of energy consumption than natural gas.
- A roof-mounted solar array will generate 24 per cent of Limberlost Place's energy consumption to offset GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions generated in the electricity grid.
Neat fact! Limberlost Place will contribute to significant revisions of the national and provincial building codes to allow for mass-timber buildings over six storeys.
By the numbers
Limberlost Place targets Tier 4 of the Toronto Green Standard, which will be the minimum standard for all new construction in 2030. Below, you can see how Limberlost Place stacks up:
- 55 KWh/m2/year energy use intensity (the amount of energy Limberlost Place will need to operate)
- 65 kWh/m2/year, Toronto Green Standard
- 12.8 KWh/m2/year thermal demand intensity (the heating and cooling needs of the building related to its envelope)
- 15 kWh/m2/year, Toronto Green Standard
- 2.5 Kg/m2/year greenhouse gas emissions intensity
- 4 kg/m2/year, Toronto Green Standard
Jack Cockwell's historic donation
We announced the building's name, inspired by the Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve near Huntsville, Ontario, in December 2021. That's when Canadian business leader and philanthropist Jack Cockwell donated $10 million to George Brown College for the project, adding to his earlier gift to the college of $8 million in 2015. The $18-million gift is the largest donation made to the college.
The sunlit learning landscape area will be the central social area of the building. There are large, shared classrooms throughout the facility. On the fifth floor, a timber bridge connects Limberlost Place to the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences.
Limberlost Place will also house a fitness centre.
As part of George Brown's Indigenous Education Strategy, the building will showcase Indigenous initiatives, spaces, and programming that support Indigenous culture and Truth and Reconciliation.
Brookfield Sustainability Institute
The Brookfield Sustainability Institute (BSI) at Limberlost Place will focus on aligning digital transformation and sustainability for the benefit of communities everywhere, becoming a beacon for "smart sustainability." Students and faculty will work with government, industry, and community partners to develop tangible solutions to tackle climate change impacts.
The work at BSI will build on more than 20 years of learnings from George Brown College's well-known and respected Institute without Boundaries. Luigi Ferrara, Dean of George Brown's Centre for Arts, Design, and Information Technology, is the BSI Chair and CEO.
George Brown College continues to play an important role in the development of the East Bayfront community. In 2012, we opened the Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences at Waterfront Campus. In 2019, we expanded our Waterfront Campus when the School of Design took up residence at the Daniels Waterfront—City of the Arts complex at Queens Quay East and Lower Jarvis Street. And in 2016, GBC opened its first residence, The George, an important anchor in the nearby Corktown community.
Limberlost Place is set to open to students in January 2025.
Awards and media coverage
Limberlost Place, formerly known as The Arbour, has been winning awards and making headlines since we unveiled the project design in 2018.
- 2023 - Big lumber of the Toronto waterfront (The Globe and Mail)
- 2022 - winner of Toronto's Waterfront Design Review Panel Excellence in Design Innovation award.
- 2022 - Short-listed for a 2022 World Architecture Festival Award in the category of Future Project: Education. The winner is to be announced in December 2022.
- 2022 - One of 20 winners of the 2022 Special WAFX Award
- 2021 - Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, Ontario Engineering Projects Award (OEPA), Willis Chapman Award - Best in Province
- 2021 - Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, Ontario Engineering Projects Award (OEPA), Award of Excellence
- 2021 - 'Mass timber' movement breaking ground on Ontario's tallest wood building (The Globe and Mail)
- 2021 - MaRS lists the project as one of its 10 Toronto green buildings to get excited about.
- 2021 - NOW Magazine includes the project in its 11 buildings that will change Toronto list.
- 2019 - WAN (World Architecture News) awards — gold, Future Projects–Education category
- 2019 - AZ Award (Azure Magazine) — winner and People's Choice, Unbuilt Buildings category
- 2019 - MIPIM/Architectural Review Future Project Award — Sustainability Prize
- 2018 – Rethinking the Future, Architecture, Construction and Design Award — Institutional Concept
- 2018 – Canadian Architect Award of Excellence
The design team
In April 2018, we announced the winner of an international design competition — 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. Vancouver-based award-winning firm Acton Ostry Architects designed the Brock Commons Tallwood House, an 18-storey student residence at the University of British Columbia.
Project updates, images and videos
Stay on top of project updates, find architectural renderings and check out videos about Limberlost Place.