Academic Wood Tower will stimulate demand for mass timber in Ontario


It’s rare for an announcement about the construction of a new academic building to elicit tweets about being “giddy with excitement,” but that’s exactly what happened when the University of Toronto revealed its plans to build a 14-storey academic tower made of timber.

People around the world took to Twitter to share their enthusiasm for the timber building – many calling the project “exciting” and some praising the design for being “bold” and “gorgeous”.  

Read about U of T's academic wood tower 

So what’s getting people so excited? U of T News asked Robert Wright, dean of the Faculty of Forestry and an associate professor in the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design.

“As a building scientist friend once said, you can't think of a more sustainable building material that you can guarantee a supply well into the future if you manage the resource well,” Wright said about timber.

He suspects the positive reception to the building is due in part to a growing interest in sustainability and green technology.

“In every field – architecture, design, engineering – there are challenges and one of the challenges is to be able to use biologically sustainable material in more of a structural sense – and to build at taller and taller heights,” Wright says.

Wood, he says, is the perfect candidate.

“It's just amazing because wood can shelter us, feed us, shade us, do so many things and it can also be used for building material. And it's sustainable.”

wood building renderings

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