A unique environmental community and champion for urban sustainability

Natasha
Wednesday 26 Sep 2012

Evergreen funds sustainable projects in local schoolyards, parks and communities

Evergreen funds sustainable projects in local schoolyards, parks and communities. The Evergreen Brickworks is a unique environmental community and champion for urban sustainability, located on an industrial heritage site in Toronto’s Don Valley. Demonstrating that Evergreen ‘walks the talk’, their office in a new LEED® Platinum building showcases their philosophy on sustainability, liveability and community. To start the project, we conducted two charrettes to discover Evergreen’s priorities, concerns, and adjacencies for 80 staff. The resulting design focused on sustainability, efficiency and effective worker support in comfortable surroundings that reflect Evergreen’s commitment to community and environment, in a contemporary style. Aspects of this organization - collaboration, responsiveness and nimbleness - were essential in its workplace. Consequently, Evergreen was able to undertake two staff reorganizations in less than a year with no problem due to the furniture model. Evergreen’s egalitarian ethos also enhances flexibility. The same workstation layout serves the entire staff, including the executive director. Diagonal planning and a benching furniture solution contribute to an energetic sense of community and shared purpose The kitchen plays an important role as both the social hub and a multi-purpose space that can be subdivided by sliding recycled doors. Natural, reclaimed materials add warmth and reference sustainability within the clean modern design. Select pieces of furniture from Evergreen’s previous office provide a reminder of the organization’s history. To reference Evergreen’s flexibility and strength, a kraftpaper honeycomb material provided the inspiration for their reception desk, fabricated by local artisans. They also sourced its reclaimed fir, as well as the sliding doors to the eating area, the perimeter bookshelves, and central ‘windows’ meeting room that reinforces the heritage aspect of the Brickworks site and the openness of the organization. Flooded with daylight, strong clear paint colours ere inspired by Evergreen’s marketing materials and quirky design elements create a carefree ambience. Chalkboard paint enables the central posting of announcements and the organization’s mission. Art is being added gradually, much of it created by staff. Completed September 2010.

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