Mass Timber Project Underway at University of Toronto’s Koffler Scientific Reserve

Construction is underway on a new mass timber dining and operations center project on a 900-acre property at the University of Toronto’s Koffler Scientific Reserve, according to Daily Commercial News (2-21-23).

Robert Davies, director and principal at Montgomery Sisam, designers of the facility, told Daily Commercial News that for decades the reserve has hosted field researchers working in multiple disciplines with summertime residencies. Davies noted that various outbuildings were a “motely” assortment that need to be replaced. The new center will include bunk rooms, classrooms and meeting space, washing facilities, and a common kitchen area.

“It was a hand-in-glove situation, there was an enlightened owner and an enlightened design team,” said Davies, referring his company and the firm Integral, who are sustainability experts. “As we were developing the design of the building several years ago now, the university was increasing its commitment to sustainable design, and in particular net-zero energy and net-zero carbon, so the university’s own wider-based initiatives dovetailed rather nicely with this project.”

The structure of the facility is mass timber, with wood finishing inside, ample insulation “like a down jacket,” and then cedar shingles forming a cladding, treated in the Shou Sugi Ban style. That’s a Japanese practice where the surface of the cedar is burned, closing the pores, Davies explained to Daily Commercial News, offering long-term natural preservation without solvents, chemicals, or plastics.

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