Diamond + Schmitt Architects design the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto
The Brick Works project transforms an underused deteriorating industrial
site in Toronto’s Don Valley into a regionally important, environmentally
based community landmark that engages visitors in diverse experiences
connected to nature and the city. A changeable exterior skin brings together nature, culture and community. A track system allows moveable screens, window boxes and large scale art installations to be attached to the building’s exterior. This unique system acts as a canvas for the Evergreen community, giving staff and artists the ability to grow plants and flowers outside their office windows or install artwork and plantings that change with the seasons or programming. This system has the added benefit of acting as solar shading, reducing the need for cooling in the summer months. The Cor-Ten steel cladding of the south wall is laser-cut with a pattern that is based on a microscopic view of chloroplast, the part of a leaf that converts solar energy into food. Winter heating costs are reduced as air is drawn between the steel cladding and the building where it is warmed by the sun before being taken into the main mechanical system.
On the east façade a vertical wetland has been incorporated as part of the
storm water management system. These wetlands filter rainwater for use
as irrigation in the gardens.
The building scheme employs a variety of sustainable initiatives and is
targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum
certification. In addition to the breathing wall, solar shading, rainwater
capture for irrigation and green roofs, other sustainable design elements
include certified wood, low emitting materials, light pollution reduction and
natural ventilation. Radiant heating and cooling, heat reclamation and
building automation systems, including occupancy and daylight sensors,
help to improve the energy efficiency of the building.