Announcements 01.21.2021

Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex wins 2021 Best Tall Building Award

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has honoured the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex, 28-storey vertical campus, with an Award of Excellence in the Mixed-Use category. The CTBUH is a global nonprofit organization which explores urban density and sustainable, healthy cities.

The Toronto Metropolitan campus sits within the high-density fabric of downtown Toronto. The Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex responds to the challenges of an urban site by creating a new typology for Toronto Metropolitan University: a vertical campus that celebrates density, urbanity, and a radical mix of uses.

Conceived as a living and learning community, the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex brings nearly 300,000 square feet of highly-sustainable teaching, research, and living space to a tight urban site.

“This building takes the idea of a campus with all of its marvelous spaces for learning and community and flips it vertically. The quads, cafés, gardens, and hangouts are all there, but they’re arranged over the height of the building, breaking down the mass and engaging the city.”

—Andrew Frontini, Design Director, Toronto

The project adapts Toronto’s prevailing podium-and-tower typology, using a series of formal manipulations to open the building up to the city.

Lifting, splitting, and shifting the building’s primary volumes creates a continuous string of public space extending from the ground to the urban farming terrace and roof. Highlighted in orange, this route becomes the connective tissue of the building—putting the activities of its occupants on display, creating zones for circulation, interaction, and collaboration.

The design of the DCHSC brings together input from hundreds University students, faculty, and staff, and more than 200 community stakeholders, demonstrating the potential for an ambitious, inclusive, innovative, and highly sustainable approach to urban intensification.
Social spaces offer dramatic views over the City and promote the growth of communities on every level of the building.

On the interior, programs are connected by a series of stacked public lounges which feature a vibrant stained wood cladding and sculptural stairs to inspire active lifestyle and spontaneous interactions.

Shared study spaces activate the vertical public realm as it weaves upwards through the building, providing all users with a dynamic connection to the city around them.

Health, community, and inclusivity were key drivers and informed every aspect of the design. The project features 100% fresh air through an active chilled beam system for heating and cooling, a rigorously screened set of interior finishes, and building materials geared toward occupant health. Access to daylight, a rooftop garden/farm, and the design of active environments all support occupant well-being and the mission of the resident health sciences faculty.

Green roofs at the podium level combine productive planting for the Toronto Metropolitan urban farm at Level 8 with decorative native plantings as a visual amenity at Level 9.
Apartment style residences feature abundant natural light and stunning views of the surrounding cityscape.

A fully-transparent material palette, ample access to daylight and fresh air, and stunning views over the downtown core support holistic health and well-being in the student residence.  Four-bedroom apartment-style units, supported by shared lounges that connect each two residence floors into one ‘house’, foster social and cultural exchange between predominantly first-year residents, most of whom are leaving home for the first time.

As an Award of Excellence winner, the Complex moves on to compete for the additional status of “Overall Category Winner” of the Best Tall Building Mixed-Use category this spring.

Click here for more on the Toronto Metropolitan University Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex.