George Brown Sinks Teeth Into Waterfront
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George Brown Sinks Teeth Into Waterfront

20090917georgebrown2.jpg
Artist’s rendering of George Brown College’s new East Bayfront campus, looking west from the new Sherbourne Park. Rendering courtesy of Stantec Architecture/KPMB.


Down on the waterfront at Queen’s Quay, between Lower Sherbourne and Lower Jarvis, lies the site of George Brown College’s new $175 million dentistry and healthcare campus. The project was just given approval for ground-breaking yesterday, and will form part of the new development on East Bayfront.
The Centre for Health Sciences will add 3,500 student places—but non-students can come in as well; the ground floor of the building will be made public. “We want people to walk through,” says lead architect Bruce Kuwabara from KPMB, the firm also responsible for the Canada Life Tower extension and the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
The college, which has its main campus due north on King Street East, first scoped out building on the waterfront in March of 2004. The Centre for Health Sciences will be just next door to the Corus Entertainment Centre, on land previously built-out into the lake for industry. It will be lit with 75% daylight; the top floors off the building, coloured grey in the rendering, are glass “academic lofts.” A boardwalk will be located along the lake. “We will be able to make a statement at the waterfront, but we want to create a space that’s really special for our students,” says Anne Sado, chief executive of the college.
The thinking behind the building is that students from different shades of health-related professions (dental hygienists, health information managers, gerontologists, and so on) can study together; after all, they will eventually all end up working together. This will also free up space in the other campuses, which include sites in Casa Loma and at Ryerson.
So what will the public find if they walk through the ground floor toward the lake? Most likely, the cafeterias. Although students at the college will still offer healthcare and dental services to the public as they do now, these won’t be anywhere visible from the ground level. One of the reasons for this, of course, is medical privacy. Another, as Kuwabara explains, is this: “The last thing we want on one of the ground floor levels is people to walk past and see a dentist’s drill.”
All being well, the first shovel will be in the ground at the end of October, with the building slated to open in fall of 2012.

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