The Terrence Donnelly Centre For Cellular and Biomolecullar Research (TDCCBR) is a $86 million project completed in November 2005 located at 160 College Street in downtown Toronto. The architects of this building consists of two groups, the architectsAlliance and Behnisch Architekten and was funded by the government, private donors, and Terence Donnelly who was a retired lawyer and entrepreneur (1). The intention of the building is to provide space for students and staff with a lecture hall, and at the same time labs for to perform top-level research for the human genome (1). Another aspect this building focuses on is the concern for a sustainable architecture. This energy efficient building is built reflecting on its use of technology and also emphasizes the concept of the past versus the present, and the concept of the exterior integrated to the interior. (2)
Upon completion, the site is no longer used as a parking lot, but on it sits the extremely unique architecture that contradicts the site and its surrounding, creating a new scene. The TDCCBR is integrated in the site very well due to blending itself in with an opposing style of buildings. This modern day architecture puts itself in a historical context by providing emphasis on the building itself, as it further incorporates itself in history by connecting two of its edges to both historical buildings, Rosebrugh Building on the west facade and the Medical Science Building on the north facade. Besides the functionality of the building, the building envelope is also a great representation of the purpose of the building. The method of how it was built reflects on the concept of bringing the future into the past in terms of its technology advancement. This is seen through the materiality used by the architects. The brickwork of the Rosebrugh Building is from the Renaissance Era (which means more labor, for example, physically laying out the bricks) where tasks are accomplished with limited technology. On the other hand, machines were necessary for glass panels to be assembled together and to make sure the job is done correctly for the building to provide its proper function, which resembles the modern day architecture. By combining these two materials, it evidently produces the image of the new and the old combined.
In further analyzing the attachment of a historical building to a modern building, another opposing concept can be seen in the interior. The winter garden is designed to be a separation between the historical Rosebrugh Building with the modern TDCCBR. This connection is a representation of the intent of the building, which is the collaboration of researchers.
Besides the physical relation, the concept of the advancement of technology is able to provide individuals the ability to experiment and have a better understanding through the process of researching for the causes and cure for diseases.
Aside from the internal meaning of the building, its physical features are also captivating to the public. Unlike the other surrounding buildings, the TDCCBR is pushed back from the sidewalk and contains its own grand entrance as one approach from the sidewalk. The granite-paved forecourt contains elevated steps that are dedicated to the TDCCBR by leading individuals to the entrance of the building.
The building is situated on the North-South axis with the circulation also moving in the North-South direction. Since the south facade experiences more heat from the sun in Toronto, this is why that particular facade is one of the most important features of the building. This facade is more concerned with the thermal levels in each office which are exposed to the sun. Operable awning windows and double layer are the unique features found on the south facade. (2)
(1) Galinsky. 2006. Galinsky. 18 September 2010. <http://www.galinsky.com/>.
(2) Murray, Scott. “Behnisch Double-Wall Façade”.ArchitectureWeek. 2010. Artiface, Inc. 16 October 2010. http://www.architectureweek.com.