November 30, 2007
by Canadian Architect
A plan that encapsulates how Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works site will inspire visitors to explore the relationship between nature, culture and community has been completed by Vancouver-based exhibit planning and design firm AldrichPears Associates (APA). This interpretive plan supports the adaptive reuse of the Brick Works site and provides an educational framework so that visitors can take action toward building a sustainable city.
As part of a recently launched overall initiative, Evergreen, a non-profit group devoted to developing greener cities, presented the first phase of its initiative to develop cultural attractions on the Don Valley Brick Works site. The initiative involves transforming two of the buildings into a Discovery Centre that will interpret nature, geology and the history of Toronto’s preeminent brick-making factory.
“Historically, the natural resources found at the Brick Works site, including rock and clay, were used to build Toronto. Now, Evergreen will add intellectual resources to build a sustainable future for the city. Visitor experiences form the cornerstone of the Evergreen Brick Works Interpretive Plan and are essential to achieving their goals through education, inspiration and action,” says Isaac Marshall, principal at APA.
Evergreen asked for a plan for the development of interpretive experiences that support sustainability goals for the site, the city and the local and global community. All core exhibits are located in a building that once housed quarried material to make bricks. The 9,000-square-foot building provides visitors with inspirational views to the park and immediate access to the core industrial artifacts. It also offers a footprint that is conducive to sustainable operations. Ever-changing experiences will provide visitors with a baseline of knowledge that will inspire them to take action. Playful, hands-on exhibits will animate the site’s industrial history and examine the area’s natural and geological history. They will also showcase Evergreen’s work to rehabilitate urban areas and offer visitors opportunities to explore creative ways of conserving limited resources.
With the help of seven design firms, including architectural firm duToit Allsopp Hillier, the brick-making factory that once helped build Toronto will now help sustain the city’s future.