Welcome Hut at the Evergreen Brick Works

Rosedale Valley, Toronto

The Evergreen Brickworks Welcome Hut, a poetic precursor and microcosm of the Brickworks initiative, gave new life and purpose to industrial detritus through collaboration, imagination and design.

 

The Welcome Hut was commissioned prior to the creation of the Evergreen Brick Works’ 12-acre community environmental centre as an immediate node for visitors, and to support the Evergreen’s mission of showcasing sustainable design and initiatives. 

The 98 ft2 hut’s primary building materials give new life to refuse. Beginning with a derelict shipping container salvaged from the historic Brickworks site, we outfitted the hut with other found elements like a graffitied door that now leads to a deck, sheets of slate that are now chalkboards, and an electrical panel and factory lamps that now hang from the ceiling as an artful light fixture.

Painted with Evergreen’s signature eye-popping green, the elevated container commands attention and is safe from flooding (the Brickworks is in a floodplain) while remaining fully accessible. Barn-like doors at either end of the container open it up to the elements, inviting entry with a gesture like open arms, and a bumped-out steel frame window gives the container a new architectural dimension. Adding to the hut’s multifaceted role on the site, a scupper on the roof funnels rainwater into an adjacent rain barrel. 

The ramps, deck, doors and internal walls and floors are made from TimberSIL, a breakthrough alternative to conventional pressure treated wood that uses a non-toxic sodium-silicate based process to weather-proof the wood without leaching chemicals into the ground. There are also built-in TimberSIL brochure racks and shelving within the window box for maps, plants, merchandise, or artifacts.

To “ignite” the space around the hut and encourage people to linger, the architects collaborated with furniture-craftsman Andrew Reesor and a group of highschool students to design and construct an interior bench that doubles as a storage box, and outdoor furniture that can be used as either six independent stools or fit together to create one or two large benches – all made from recycled shipping crates. 

After the Brickworks was completed, the hut was reused again, as warming spot and a hot beverage kiosk for skaters in the winter, and an information kiosk in the warm months. 

Media

Inhabitat – (May 2011) Bright Green Shipping Container Hut Welcomes Visitors to Evergreen Brickworks In Toronto
ArchDaily – (March 2011) Welcome Hut at the Evergreen’s Brick Works