Evergreen Brick Works
Photo Credit: Claude Cormier & DTAH
Initial Research by: Matthew Peters
Edited by: Samantha Miller & Nicole Brekelmans
Case study compiled in 2019
Project: Evergreen Brick Works
Type of Urban Strategy: Green Cities, Industrial Landscapes
Type of Project: Heritage / Master Plan / Plaza
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Date Designed/Planned: 2006
Construction Completed: 2010
Designer: DTAH, Claude Cormier + Associés, and Dougan & Associates
Evergreen Brick Works is an environmental educational centre focused on nature, culture, and community. The location of the project previously functioned as a brickyard and an industrial site providing opportunities for heritage preservation and site remediation. With an interdisciplinary team including DTAH, Claude Cormier + Associes, and Dougan & Associates, the project involved reusing the existing buildings while incorporating public spaces and native landscapes. In addition to the building reuse, the project also implemented the Centre for Green Cities, a 5-storey LEED Platinum building used for offices for Evergreen and other environmental organizations.
The site also includes flood protection by raising the site, incorporating direct water flow channels, native planting, permeable paving, and rainwater harvesting with the excess water. These water strategies were carefully incorporated into the site to maintain the original character of the space. Sustainable strategies such as urban gardening, solar thermal energy, local sourcing, and recycling of materials were incorporated into the construction and the final function of the project to lessen the environmental impact. Evergreen Brick Works is heavily used by the public for events, a café, children’s play areas, and a farmers’ market to increase community engagement and education.
(World Landscape Architect, 2013)
PROJECT BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
GOAL OF THE PROJECT
DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND DECISION MAKING PROCESS
The initial design was to clean the water flowing through the site and to regrow the lost vegetation on site, encouraging a rich habitat for both flora and fauna to thrive together. This was done both for its ecological and education functions but also allowed for increased access to wilderness in the middle of Toronto that had been lost in the Don Valley. The decision to turn this former industrial site into a public space was done in order to not console Torontonians about industrial guilt but to show them what is possible with some investment and persistence in their own communities (WLA, 2013).
In addition, and to bolster their goal Evergreen decided to keep the factory buildings in a semi retained state in order to demonstrate the history and unsustainable practices of the former site as another educational tool not as a nostalgic memorialization (DTAH, n.d.).
The site contains many programmed elements as it is both a centre of sustainability as well as a gathering place for events and fun outings. The building complex consist of the following programs:
-Center for green cities: main sustainability education attraction on site
-Garden fed Market
-Bike Works: learn to ride and fix your bike as well as go on group rides
-Children’s Garden/Day Care: where children are encouraged to play and be creative
-The Kilns: historical museum
-Skating and outdoor gathering place
-Pavilions: contain farmers market, winter market and more programming
-Brick Works Park: wilderness walk, look out spots and educational ecological walks
Evergreen funding initiative promotes sustainable living in urban places (WLA, 2013).
MANAGEMENT & MAINTENANCE
Maintenance of the site is conducted by the non-for-profit organization, Evergreen, who keeps the site in a healthy condition in order to continue to accommodate for its large volume of users as well as many programs (WLA, 2013).