Twilight of skyscraper of the Terrence Donnelly Centre
The Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (TDCCBR) is Canada’s foremost human genome research center and needed an impressive facility to help recruit top scientists and create an environment that fostered collaboration and interdisciplinary research. The fully glazed, 248,378-square-foot facility resembles a glass box. Constructed using Kawneer’s unitized curtain wall, each elevation of the “box” features a unique design and custom glazing elements, from a double-skinned curtain wall to a spot-colored façade glazed to mimic the pattern of DNA code.
ARCHITECTS: architectsAlliance, Toronto, Canada; Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart, Germany and Los Angeles, California
GLAZING CONTRACTOR: Ferguson-Neudorf, Ontario, Canada
Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research
On November 5, 2005, the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research opened its doors to world-class researchers in biology, computer science, engineering, chemistry and pharmacy under one joint roof, where they could feed off each other’s expertise to unearth the clues to the world's most devastating diseases.
The architecture of the building is part of the science. The open concept labs and social space give our scientists an ideal place where they can interact, collaborate and share ideas.
Nestled in the heart of Toronto’s discovery district, the Donnelly Centre houses 35 faculty and some 500 research staff and trainees.
Donnelly Centre investigators have made key insights about the biology of cells and genes that underpins health and disease. These advances range from tracing how genetic errors interact to affect disease, to understanding how proteins regulate gene expression, to engineering new technologies for the manipulation of human cells and tissue regeneration. As well as nurturing its existing community of researchers, the Centre continues to recruit world-class scientific talent from other leading institutes and this has been a key part of its success.
The University of Toronto and its affiliated institutions are acknowledged world leaders in genetic research. Envisioned by its founders as a collaborative, interdisciplinary research facility, the Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (TDCCBR) allows some 400 diverse specialists to build on the University’s strengths in biomolecular research.
Flexibility, amenity and interaction inform all aspects of the progressive design. The laboratories are housed in a 12story transparent box which is elevated above a new public thoroughfare connecting the city to the south with the historic campus centre, Kings College Circle. This route is punctuated by the new public forecourt—flanked by the historic facades of the neighbouring University buildings—with gardens, lounge areas, offices, seminar rooms and a cafeteria.
The modulated architectural language of this urban landscape deliberately contrasts that of the overlying box.
The gardens of the upper floors play a defining role in the external appearance of the building. The combination of double/ triple height volumes serve as ‘lounges’ enhancing the general working environment, providing areas for relaxation and informal workstations.
Client: University of Toronto
Location: Toronto ON
Architects: Behnisch Architekten / architects Alliance (Pat Hanson, design partner)