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A quality living means living in healthy environments. That also means living in a healthy city. Wood is an old building material that has been getting a new life in taller buildings over the last five years by mass timber products. Building with engineered wood has been called the next tidal wave of building in the 21st century. The building industry is by far the biggest contributor to pollution on our globe and solutions for more ecological buildings need to be actively sought and legislated. Because buildings account for almost half of all energy used worldwide, the quintessential focus of the design community has to be on strategies to reduce the energy consumption in buildings and in their construction. The process that creates structural engineered wood products takes far less energy than steel, cement or concrete and produces fewer greenhouse gases during manufacturing. Further, wood stores carbon in itself (approximately one tone per cubic meter) thus it has, compared to other building materials, a lighter overall environmental footprint. [1]

The Toronto tower would include 4,500 square metres of residential area, along with 550 square metres of public space including a cafe, a children’s daycare centre, and community workshops. Its staggered-block layout nods to Moshe Safdie’s brutalist Habitat 67 housing in Montreal, which has become a model for many prefabricated development that provide each residence with private outdoor space. [2]


[1]     “The Toronto Tree Tower.” precht.at. Accessed January 16, 2021. https://www.precht.at/toronto-tree-tower/.

[2]      Dan Howarth | 2 August 2017 40 comments. “Penda Proposes Toronto Tree Tower Built from Cross-Laminated Timber Modules.” Dezeen, April 4, 2018. https://www.dezeen.com/2017/08/02/toronto-tree-tower-penda-cross-laminated-timber-construction/

Additional information

Luxford, Charlotte. “This Breathtaking ‘Tree Tower’ Is the Changing Face of Toronto’s Cityscape.” Culture Trip. The Culture Trip, August 6, 2017. https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/canada/articles/this-breathtaking-tree-tower-is-the-changing-face-of-torontos-cityscape/.

Lynch, Patrick. “Penda Designs Modular Timber Tower Inspired by Habitat 67 for Toronto.” ArchDaily. ArchDaily, August 3, 2017. https://www.archdaily.com/877049/penda-designs-modular-timber-tower-inspired-by-habitat-67-for-toronto.

Project Title: Toronto Tree Tower
Artists:  Precht
Year: 2017
Place: Toronto, ON

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