Stantec Architecture / KPMB Architects


In 2012, George Brown College, an urban community college in Toronto, built a waterfront campus for its school of health sciences. Representing a 40 percent expansion of the overall campus, the new 450,000-square-foot, $140-million building responds to rising demand for health-care professionals, in particular those who are preparing for a collaborative practice. By uniting the schools of Dental Health, Heath and Wellness, Health Management, and Nursing and creating strategic social spaces shared by all student bodies, the facility refutes the silo mentality that had kept these related departments from intersecting. Students traveling diverse paths now meet each other easily, build connections, and, in effect, teach one another.

Previously the four programs occupied a building in downtown Toronto that lacked common areas. To realize the client's vision for learning, the design team—KPMB Architects in a joint venture with Stantec Architecture—first consulted research on the pedagogy. For example, a 2001 study by Thomas Allen of MIT's Sloan School of Management concluded that collaboration requires, above all, proximity. “It was so simple that we laughed,” recalls KPMB principal Bruce Kuwabara, “but it's absolutely true.” Analysis also showed that learning often happens outside the classroom: students share information in casual conversation.

Therefore, KPMB worked with Stantec to maximize student interaction: they designed a vertical structure whose interlocking spaces draw students nearer to one another. To foster informal exchange, the team also conceived dining zones as natural extensions of learning areas.

The dominant feature of this scheme is known as the “Learning Landscape”: two large expanses of stadium seating that are affixed to open staircases on the second and third floors. These open areas encourage carry-over discussions from formal lectures and meetings, as well as more ad hoc exchanges, against a background of Lake Ontario and the Toronto skyline. “We've devised all sorts of strategies to draw people out of their foxholes,” Kuwabara says.

In the new building's first year of operation, George Brown College exceeded its target for full-time health-science enrollment. Today it operates at capacity, with 3,500 students and 500 faculty. Enrollment revenues have risen by almost $1 million, or 5 percent, since the 2011'12 academic year. The building design has directly attracted more than $4 million for naming opportunities, with $3.2 million of that pledged as a single donation in 2014.

The influx of young people is energizing the locale, a former industrial precinct called Bayfront Shore whose revitalization figures into a larger master plan for the City of Toronto. To stoke Bayfront Shore's transformation as a vital mixed-use neighborhood, much of the new academic building doubles as public space. Lounge amenities and retail spaces are open to visitors, and they annually generate almost $800,000 in food sales and $1.3 million in bookstore revenue. The campus further engages the community through its WAVE (Wellness, Applied Research, and Visionary Education) clinics, in which students and faculty operate dental, hearing, fitness, active-living, and health-promotion clinics for residents. In 2013, the new building reported 17,400 patient visits, a 45 percent increase over its former building's clinics. The design team credits the client for supporting a scheme that attracts and empowers the student body and citizenry alike. “Architecturally speaking,” says Kuwabara, “this is the biggest statement on collaboration that we've ever seen by anybody.”

Stantec Architecture / KPMB Architects in Joint Venture
Stantec: 100-401 Wellington St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E7
KPMB: 3-322 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1J2

Gross square footage: 449,000 square feet

Total project cost: Confidential

Completion Date: September 2012


Formal name of building:
George Brown College Waterfront Campus

51 Dockside Dr., Toronto, ON M5A 1B6

Completion Date:
September 2012

Gross square footage:
449,000 square feet

Total project cost:

Total construction cost:

George Brown College

George Brown College

Stantec Architecture / KPMB Architects in Joint Venture
Stantec: 100-401 Wellington St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E7
KPMB: 3-322 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1J2

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Architect of record:
Stuart Elgie, OAA, MRAIC
Mitch Hall, OAA, MRAIC

Associate architect(s):
Michael Moxam, OAA, MAA, FRAIC, LEED' AP BD+C, Assoc. AIA
Bruce Kuwabara, OC, OAA, FRAIC, AIA, RIBA

Interior designer:
Stantec Architecture Ltd.

Stantec Consulting Ltd. (structural, mechanical, electrical, civil, sustainability)

Landscape: PFS Studio

Lighting: Martin Conboy Lighting Design

Acoustical: Aercoustics Inc.

Accessibility Planning ' SPH Planning & Consultation
A/V Consultant ' Applied Electronics
Building Envelope Consultant ' Brook van Dalen & Associates
Code Consultant ' Leber Rubes
Cost Consultant ' Hanscomb Ltd
Commissioning Agent ' HFM
Food Services ' Kaizen Foodservice Planning
Functional Programming ' Educational Consulting Services
Geostructural Engineering ' Isherwood Geostructural Engineering
Geotechnical Environmental ' exp
Technology Program ' Sextant Group
Transportation Planning ' BA Consulting
Vertical Transportation ' Soberman Engineering

General contractor:

Maris Mezulis '
Nic Lehoux ' (646) 808-7535
Richard Johnson ' (416) 755-7742
Tom Arban ' (416) 566-9409



Structural system
Concrete and Formwork ' Structform International Ltd. Structural Steel ' Lorvin Steel Ltd.
Reinforcing Steel ' Harris Rebar
Reinforcing Steel (detailing) ' M.D. Ltd.

Exterior cladding
Masonry: Clifford Masonry Ltd.

Metal Panels: MRM (miscellaneous non-structural metals)

Metal/glass curtain wall: Sota Glazing Inc.

Precast concrete: CBM

Wood: Allwood Industries Ltd.

Moisture barrier: Structural Roofing and Waterproofing Ltd.

Curtain wall: Sota Glazing Inc.

Other cladding unique to this project: Gage Ltd. (insulated metal siding)

Built-up roofing: Lexcor

Elastomeric: IKO Industries

Metal: Baycoat

Metal frame: Modern Railings & Metalcraft Ltd.

Glass: Vanceva

Insulated-panel or plastic glazing: SunProject

Other: Camden (misc. glazing)

Entrances: Upper Canada Specialty Hardware Ltd.

Metal doors: Upper Canada Specialty Hardware Ltd., Modern Railings & Metalcraft Ltd.

Wood doors: Upper Canada Specialty Hardware Ltd.

Sliding doors: Upper Canada Specialty Hardware Ltd.

Fire-control doors, security grilles: Total Door Systems

Upswinging doors, other: Amstel (overhead doors)

Locksets: Accurate Lock and Hardware

Pulls: Gallery Hardware

Security devices: Plan Group Inc. (card access/card readers IT)

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong, HunterDouglasContract

Suspension grid: Armstrong, HunterDouglasContract

Demountable partitions: Vertical Solutions, Skyfold

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Allwood Carpentry Manufacturing

Paints and stains: Sherwin-Williams, PPG, Donalco (fireproofing and intumescent paint)

Wall coverings: Sound Solutions Architectural Products, Conwed Designscape

Paneling: Owens Corning

Plastic laminate: Abet Laminati

Solid surfacing: Corian

Special surfacing: 3 Form

Floor and wall tile: Olympia Tile, Daltile, Vitreous Glass Inc., Stone Tile

Resilient flooring: Armstrong, Jonsonite, Mondo

Fluid applied flooring: Douchem

Carpet: Kraus Inc.

Raised flooring: Camino Modular Systems Inc., Haworth, Inc.

Fixed seating: Hussey Seating Company

Chairs: Global

Tables: Allwood Carpentry Manufacturing

Upholstery: Absecon Mills, Inc.

Interior ambient lighting: Copper Lighting, Lithonia Lighting, Sistemalux

Downlights: Martin Conboy Lighting Design

Elevators/Escalators: ThyssenKrupp Elevator

Inter-Co (washroom and toilet accessories)
SimplexGrinnel (sprinkler)

Energy management or building automation system:
Urban Mechanical Ltd. (base building mechanical)
Plan Group Inc. (base building electrical)
Adelt Mechanical Works Ltd. (mechanical ventilation)
Honeywell (mechanical control)
EllisDon ICT (systems integration)

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
-Vibro-Acoustics (vibration control)