Plan B - CN Tower ​​​By Richard Witt, Marco VanderMaas, George Foussias, Wayne McMillan, Dan Seljak, Carlos Guimaraes & David Mo

Plan B - CN Tower

​​​​By Richard Witt, Marco VanderMaas, George Foussias, Wayne McMillan, Dan Seljak, Carlos Guimaraes & David Moses (Quadrangle Architects Limited)

From trading outpost to provincial capital to “Toronto the Good” to the tech and entertainment capital it has become today, Toronto has had many identities, each adapted to suit the needs of that given era. Our plan to add Metsa Wood residences to the CN tower follows in this tradition of reinvention and exploration. Literally building upon the most iconic building in Toronto, this modular design gives new purpose to a building primarily used for communications and tourism. 

The benefits of wood construction are integral to this plan. The lightness of the material allows for the construction of the units between the wind-shielding “wings” of the tower. Its strength and versatility allows for livable and malleable designs that can accommodate the contemporary condo dweller. Supports drilled into the tower’s structure allows for the hanging of livable pods that taper as the original building narrows. These mounting brackets on the tower’s face will be allow the pods to be dropped into place. Connections will be comprised of hidden plates inside the wood kerto elements. 

The total cantilever length of the modules is controlled by capacity to attach to tower – our ambition would be to maximize spans. Each ‘container’ has a floor and a roof, with self-contained trusses in the side walls. These side wall trusses have space for insulation and will be concealed on the interior by another kerto finishing panel. Kerto solid panels at exterior provide stiffness and is used to mount cladding or sound insulation between units. 

Finally, the open end wall of these containers, all glazed, will need two side posts and a top beam to stiffen the end of the ‘box’ shape. Some lab testing with new connection types might allow us to avoid the posts and beam resulting in floor to ceiling, wall to wall, glass – a view that might not be for the faint of heart!

The modular character of these pods allows for a variety of unit layouts that can accommodate multiple lifestyles and personal choices. As wind is a major challenge building this high up, each of these pods is configured vertically to reduce the protrusion of their floor plates. In turn, this creates dynamic shapes with staircases creating sharp diagonal incisions in otherwise cube-like structures. These pods afford phenomenal views, with other units framing spectacular views of the city.
This proposed design also includes the unique carbon sequestering properties of wood construction – it is a sustainable and conscientious idea with minimal impact. Furthermore, the design’s versatility leaves open the potential to propose similar projects on other largescale freestanding developments globally, increasing the value they bring to their home cities and environments. 

For many years the CN tower was the tallest structure in the world, a global icon of height and progress. This time has passed, with the world’s next proposed tallest tower doubling its height. Our proposal reinvents an icon losing its iconic status, keeping it anchored to Toronto’s growth and emergence as a global destination.​

City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

Explore the designs