Finalist teams selected for George Brown’s tall wood showpiece

This week, Toronto’s George Brown College announced the four finalist architectural teams to design ‘The Arbour’, which will be a 12-storey mass-timber, low-carbon building to be constructed at the heart of the college’s growing waterfront campus. Intended “to support research, teaching and learning,” the project is described by George Brown as “the only building of its type in Ontario,” which is “destined to become a leading example of sustainable building practice and a premier destination on Toronto’s eastern waterfront.”

The four finalist teams feature a mix of Canadian and international architectural firms. Below, the first design concept is by the team of Patkau Architects and MJMA. Here, clear, delicate glazing encloses the wood-frame structure with a translucent crystalline form, showcasing the structural ingenuity within.George Brown College, Patkau Architects

Moriyama & Teshima and Acton Ostry Architects offer a very different way of highlighting the project’s material innovation. Hinting at a house form, the pitched roof puts the building in playful dialogue with the more modest wood-framed structures that have long Canadian single-family housing.Moriyama & Teshima, Acton Ostry Architects, George Brown College

Working in collaboration with Toronto’s Brook McIlroy, Tokyo-based Shigeru Ban Architects opt for a more sculptural presence, with organic — and slightly playful — curves encircling an impressive central atrium.Shigeru Ban Architects, Brook McIlroy, George Brown College

Finally, the team of Provencher Roy and Turner Fleischer Architects provide a more rectilinear solution, which is deftly accented by a curved upper volume. Rising from a system of angled supports, the project’s footprint opens up new pedestrian space at street level.Provencher Roy, Turner Flesicher, George Brown College

Next week, the shortlisted teams will now present their design concepts to the competition jury. Taking place on the evening of March 27th at the George Brown College Waterfront Campus auditorium, the presentations will be open to the public. The winning project will be announced the following day.