Evergreen Brickworks, Building 16

Rosedale Valley, Toronto

We led an expert team including the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Services, Ontario Heritage Trust and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to stabilize, flood proof and retrofit Building 16, a heritage kiln factory, with a carbon-neutral design.

Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works, Canada’s first large-scale community environmental centre, reunites urban dwellers with nature. The unusual community space introduces the public to concepts and strategies that address sustainability and climate change through interactive workshops, community festivals, and regular visitor programming.

Building 16, constructed in the 1950s for drying and firing bricks, is the largest building on Evergreen property. The largely derelict heritage building was a treasure trove for urban explorers seeking out its industrial artifacts, and was covered in large swaths of graffiti. As a partially enclosed space in a flood plain, Building 16 was at nature’s mercy, exposed to the elements, seasonal temperatures, and periodic flooding.

Our key challenge – and responsibility – was to assert a light touch, designing just enough to stabilize the historic structure and preserve the authentic quality of the place, while also adding elements required to enhance its purpose and carry it forward into the future.

With preservation work now complete, Building 16 is a symbol of a post-industrial Toronto, a functional and resilient 2,000-person event and educational space no longer threatened by seasonal disturbances, and a trailblazing example of sustainable architecture. The renovation modestly inserts functional necessities as structures within the structure including washrooms, a professional kitchen, an art gallery, and a mezzanine classroom and studio space. 

As architects, we strive for opportunities like this, to collaborate with a team of experts to establish a place that is a meaningful preservation of our past, and an experimental model for our future.

“Evergreen did the right thing; it gave LGA room to explore new materials and methods of dealing with the environmental crisis we prefer to ignore. As the building reminds us, that’s no longer an option.”

 

– Christopher Hume, Toronto Star

Awards

2021 Ontario Concrete Award – Material Development and Innovation

Media

Green Building and Design – (September 2018) Evergreen Brick Works Preserves History in a Green Way
Toronto Star – (November 2018) Evergreen’s revamped Kiln Building points to the future of cities
Canadian Architect – (June 2018) Industrial Evolution: The Kiln Building at Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto, Ontario
Globe and Mail – (May 2018) How a kiln building in Toronto will heat up the new Future Cities Canada
Canadian Facility Management & Design – (March 2017) Evergreen targets carbon neutrality with retrofit: Development to transform heritage-designated kiln building at Brick Works
Reimagine Magazine – (January 2017) Brick by Brick: A national not-for-profit has begun a retrofit of an old kiln building
Daily Commercial News – (November 2018)  Awards celebrate innovative concrete projects