Presenting Ontario’s first mass timber commercial building in over 100 years

The 80 Atlantic Avenue building in Toronto is Ontario’s first mass timber commercial structure in over a hundred years. Photo courtesy Quadrangle
The 80 Atlantic Avenue building in Toronto is Ontario’s first mass timber commercial structure in over a hundred years.
Photo courtesy Doublespace Photography

Designed by Quadrangle, 80 Atlantic Avenue in Toronto is Ontario’s first mass timber commercial building in over a hundred years.

The 8361-m2 (90,000-sf), five-storey building completes a courtyard with 60 Atlantic (also realized by Quadrangle) to create a paired commercial development. The building harmonizes with the Liberty Village neighbourhood, noted for its converted factories and warehouses.

The 80 Atlantic building seeks to bring back all the features people love about historic brick and beam workplaces: the open, spacious layout, generous ceiling heights, and the warm look and feel and even smell that are known to have a positive impact on human well-being. Gone, however, are the dust, the draughts, the poor acoustics, energy inefficiency, and obtrusively placed pipes and cables, Quadrangle said.

At 80 Atlantic, an engineered floor plenum integrates the mechanical, electrical, and telecommunications systems and tucks these out of view beneath tenants’ feet. HVAC ducts in the plenum keep the air moving and temperatures comfortable. Wiring runs from floor to ceiling in channels concealed inside the ‘huggable’ columns. Unobscured by ducts or bulkheads, the natural wood columns and ceilings are on display throughout.

In 80 Atlantic, a south-facing curtain wall provides unobstructed views of the timber interiors while bathing the interiors with daylight. The other three façades are constructed of well-insulated porcelain rain screen panels that respond to the masonry punched-window context of the area and use high-quality operable windows to provide users with more control over their environment.

To integrate the building with its surroundings, Quadrangle conceived of 80 Atlantic as a dialogue with 60 Atlantic with glazed façades mirroring the opposite structure across a shared sunken courtyard. The dialogue extends through the materiality—from the raw Corten steel of 60’s vertical circulation blocks to the refined copper facing for the elevator core at 80 Atlantic and the buff brick of 60 Atlantic and the complementary toned panels at 80 Atlantic. The 80 Atlantic building also pulls back from 60 Atlantic at its southwest corner to allow the heritage façade to remain exposed.

Users enter 80 Atlantic through the courtyard by following a path flanked with plantings down to the lobby entrance, which is sunk below grade and has a soaring double-height wood-lined ceiling. The first level is concrete instead of timber because of the larger floor spans required and necessary separation between office and retail use. The upper floors are composed of glue-laminated (glulam) beams and columns, on which are installed nail-laminated timber (NLT) floor decking panels. The floors have an acoustic layer that includes a lightweight concrete topping to minimize deflections in the floor and to provide an even surface.

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