Terrence Donnelly Centre For Cellular And Biomolecular Research

ARCHITECT ARCHITECTSALLIANCE & BEHNISCH ARCHITEKTEN

LOCATION TORONTO, ONTARIO

The University of Toronto and its affiliated institutions are world leaders in the quest to link genes to disease. Envisioned by its founders as a collaborative, interdisciplinary research facility, the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (TDCCBR) brings together some 400 specialists–biologists, computer scientists, physicians, pharmacists and engineers–to advance the University’s groundbreaking research in molecular biology. The program encourages interaction between disciplines and among researchers, and is expressed largely through a series of functional, highly flexible and technically advanced research laboratory floors.

Situated on the edge of the historic U of T campus, adjacent to the Provincial Legislature and one of the largest hospital precincts in North America, the TDCCBR is the fulcrum between leading-edge research and medical application. The site is located between two historic buildings on a closed street allowance previously used for parking and building services.

The TDCCBR reflects the University’s status as a leader in genomic research, and will aid in the recruitment of international-calibre researchers to the University. Considerations of function, flexibility, amenity and interaction informed all aspects of the design. The parti of the building– its transparency, orientation within the site, and extensive connections with surrounding buildings–convey an urbanity and civic-mindedness that is highly unusual in research labs. This has been achieved without sacrificing building security or well-controlled lab environments.

A 12-storey transparent box is elevated above a new public thoroughfare connecting the city to the historic campus centre. Consisting of a landscaped plaza, building entrance and public concourse through to the adjacent Medical Sciences Building, this route is lined with gardens, lounges, offices, seminar rooms and a cafeteria. In contrast to the simple tower above, its architectural language unfolds as a modulated landscape, creating a new public forum for the University at large, while maintaining important public pathways across the site. By biasing the building on the site, the architects created a multi-storey glazed atrium between the new building and the historic building to the west.

The shallow plates of the lab floors maximize daylight penetration and, depending upon demands of specific research requirements, allow for natural ventilation. Double-and triple-height gardens are located at various points on the perimeter of the lab floors, providing valuable informal meeting places for researchers, students and staff. Each faade is treated differently to address individual programmatic and climatic requirements. The double-glazed south faade provides solar and acoustic control as well as creating a richly layered transparency on the building’s primary face. The east, west and north faades are glazed with patterned ceramic fritted glass and coloured laminated glass, providing shade, privacy or amenity as required by program and circumstance. An intermediate mechanical floor is articulated to break down the mass of the lab block in a way that relates to the scale of surrounding buildings. The architectural expression of an elegant and highly transparent glass tower reflects TDCCBR’s status as the country’s leading centre of genomic research.

John McMinn: This building presents a generous figure of program elements which participate in the urban streetscape while mediating the level change between campus and street with a free-flowing series of terraces and open connections to surrounding exterior spaces. The enlargement of public corridors at several levels, combined with stair connections on the west face of the building create generous, casual meeting places for spontaneous interaction between researchers.CA

CLIENT BRENDA ANDRES, DIRECTOR, TDCCBR AND DR. JAMES FRIESEN, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, TDCCBR

ARCHITECT TEAM STEFAN BEHNISCH, ADRIAN DICASTRI, PETER CLEWES, VOLKER BIERMANN, WALTER BETTIO, DENI PAPETTI

STRUCTURAL YOLLES PARTERSHIP LTD.

MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL STANTEC CONSULTING

LAB CONSULTANT FLAD & ASSOCIATES

LANDSCAPE DIANA GERRARD LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

BUILDER VANBOTS CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION

AREA 20,550

BUDGET $86 M

COMPLETION SEPTEMBER 2005

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