Terrence Donnelly center for cellular and bimolecular research

The Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Bimolecular Research is located in U of T campus on 150 College St. W.  The site is a rectangular elongating from south to north and it is surrounded by historical buildings from its south east and west.  The site was formerly used as parking lot, service area and pathway to the medical building.

Designed and constructed between 2001 and 2005 by the German firm Behnisch architekte and architectsAlliance of Toronto with their main goal focusing on collaborative ethics and sustainable design.

 The CCBR rises above the neighboring buildings where aluminum and glass work together to create a glass tower which is standing on a concrete ground plane. The building is mainly a research facility with no lecture rooms. It is divided into two programmatic spaces. First is the public space located in the ground plane, and the second is the research facility. Three winter gardens are places in different levels across the building giving the researchers fresh air and nice space to work in.

Unlike usual structure, each façade of the CCBR tells a different story. The south façade is a high performance curtain wall with double glazing separated by 800mm. this façade integrates inside of it  high technological louvers system, together they work to maximize daylight, minimize heat gain/ loss, maximize natural ventilation and control wind. On the east façade colorful glazing are taking place in a sequence of the DNA bar code. Also, in the west façade when looked from distance the patterned ceramic glass represents the double stranded helix of the DNA molecule.  

Finally, with the use of social spaces, technology and sustainability the CCBR raises the standards of laboratories environment worldwide. 

 Jen, Leslie. “Genetic Complement: Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, Toronto, Ontario: Architects Alliance and Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner.” Canadian architect 51.1 (2006): 28-33.

— Catherine Cohen

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