Architects: Levitt Goodman Architects
Location: 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Canada
Project Team: Janna Levitt (Partner-in-Charge), Katrina Touw (Project Architect)
Area: 96.0 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.
From the architect. To greet visitors in the months before its official opening later this year, Evergreen Brick Works commissioned a temporary Welcome Hut for the 12-acre community environmental centre. Designed by Levitt Goodman Architects, this 96 sqf hut is provides an immediate node for visitors and to support the Evergreen’s mission to showcase for green design and environmentally sustainable initiatives.
The hut’s primary building materials give new life to refuse: a derelict shipping container is embellished with salvage from the historic backyards including a graffiti 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.
Elevated and painted Evergreen’s signature eye-popping green, the container commands attention while also providing barrier-free access and preventing flooding (the Brickworks is in a floodplain). Barn-like doors at either end of the container open it up to the elements and invite entry with a gesture like open arms. A bumped-out steel frame window gives the container a new dimension and transforms it into architecture. Adding to the hut’s purpose, 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 that makes the wood impermeable without leaching chemicals into the ground. There are 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 grade 10 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.
“This project is a wonderfully poetic microcosm of the Brickworks initiative as a whole,” said Evergreen Senior Project Manger Matthew Cohen. “Old industrial material is given a new life and purpose through collaboration and design. It is recreated as a joyous place for Torontonians and anyone interested in green initiatives.”
Once the Welcome Hut is no longer required for its original purpose, it will be easily converted into a warming spot and a hot beverage kiosk for skaters in the winter and an information kiosk in the warm months.