Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research


The University of Toronto and its affiliated institutions are acknowledged world leaders in genetic research. Envisioned by its founders as a collaborative, interdisciplinary research facility, the Terrence Donnelly Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (TDCCBR) allows some 400 diverse specialists to build on the University’s strengths in biomolecular research.

Flexibility, amenity and interaction inform all aspects of the progressive design. The laboratories are housed in a 12story transparent box which is elevated above a new public thoroughfare connecting the city to the south with the historic campus centre, Kings College Circle. This route is punctuated by the new public forecourt—flanked by the historic facades of the neighbouring University buildings—with gardens, lounge areas, offices, seminar rooms and a cafeteria.

The modulated architectural language of this urban landscape deliberately contrasts that of the overlying box.

The gardens of the upper floors play a defining role in the external appearance of the building. The combination of double/ triple height volumes serve as ‘lounges’ enhancing the general working environment, providing areas for relaxation and informal workstations.

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Client: University of Toronto

Location: Toronto ON

Completion: 2005

Architects: Behnisch Architekten / architects Alliance (Pat Hanson, design partner)

Photography: Ben Rahn