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Welcome Hut

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Toronto-based firm Levitt Goodman Architects is known for its green designs. "We've done lots of LEED-certified buildings, but we're looking toward the bigger picture of sustainability," says Janna Levitt, a principal at the firm. So when Matthew Cohen, a senior project manager at Evergreen (a nonprofit geared to creating and supporting sustainable urban spaces), called Levitt earlier this year, the timing and partnership could not have been better.

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  The project on which Evergreen was seeking help was the development of Evergreen Brick Works, the adaptive reuse of Toronto's former Don Valley Brick Works brickyard. In the 1960s and 70s, the factory produced more than 43 million bricks each year, however, business slowed in the 1980s and the brickyard closed its doors that decade. In 1996, the city of Toronto opened the 12-acre, 16-building site as a park and Evergreen became involved by helping plant wildflowers. Today, the nonprofit runs the site, working to get all 16 buildings back into usable condition to host a farmers' market, the Evergreen administration building, rental space for businesses and other nonprofits, a skating rink, workshop spaces, and more. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    The project on which Evergreen was seeking help was the development of Evergreen Brick Works, the adaptive reuse of Toronto's former Don Valley Brick Works brickyard. In the 1960s and 70s, the factory produced more than 43 million bricks each year, however, business slowed in the 1980s and the brickyard closed its doors that decade. In 1996, the city of Toronto opened the 12-acre, 16-building site as a park and Evergreen became involved by helping plant wildflowers. Today, the nonprofit runs the site, working to get all 16 buildings back into usable condition to host a farmers' market, the Evergreen administration building, rental space for businesses and other nonprofits, a skating rink, workshop spaces, and more. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  Cohen reached out to Levitt Goodman Architects (whose "Off the Grid" Adams-Fleming Residence we featured in our May 2010 issue) earlier this year to design a welcome hut and picnic benches for the site. "With the farmers' market and the summer programming ramping up, they needed a temporary welcome structure for those who came for an event," Levitt recalls. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    Cohen reached out to Levitt Goodman Architects (whose "Off the Grid" Adams-Fleming Residence we featured in our May 2010 issue) earlier this year to design a welcome hut and picnic benches for the site. "With the farmers' market and the summer programming ramping up, they needed a temporary welcome structure for those who came for an event," Levitt recalls. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  Completed in June 2010, the structure serves to greet visitors and provide information about Evergreen, the site, and the programming offered. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    Completed in June 2010, the structure serves to greet visitors and provide information about Evergreen, the site, and the programming offered. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  Levitt's goal was to use as many recycled and reclaimed materials as possible. For the shell, she and project architect Katrina Touw sourced a shipping container from a contractor just outside of Toronto, and for the interior cladding, they used partially donated TimberSIL wood, a non-toxic alternative to pressure-treated wood. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    Levitt's goal was to use as many recycled and reclaimed materials as possible. For the shell, she and project architect Katrina Touw sourced a shipping container from a contractor just outside of Toronto, and for the interior cladding, they used partially donated TimberSIL wood, a non-toxic alternative to pressure-treated wood. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  Levitt and Touw covered the ceiling with artifacts found on the Brick Works site. "We asked Matthew and his team to collect all the old power boards and lighting panels and made the ceiling out of them," Levitt recalls. To provide light, they reactivated the outlets of the old fixtures. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    Levitt and Touw covered the ceiling with artifacts found on the Brick Works site. "We asked Matthew and his team to collect all the old power boards and lighting panels and made the ceiling out of them," Levitt recalls. To provide light, they reactivated the outlets of the old fixtures. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  The doors were also salvaged from the site. "When the property was sitting derelict, there was a ton of great tagging and graffiti going on," Levitt says. "Evergreen was able to save all the doors, which came mostly from the kiln buildings, and we used some for the hut." Levitt and Touw also employed old chalkboards to clad the insides of the some of the doors: "Matthew found a school hat was closing nearby and was able to save all the slate," Levitt says." "It makes it easy to do temporary signage." Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    The doors were also salvaged from the site. "When the property was sitting derelict, there was a ton of great tagging and graffiti going on," Levitt says. "Evergreen was able to save all the doors, which came mostly from the kiln buildings, and we used some for the hut." Levitt and Touw also employed old chalkboards to clad the insides of the some of the doors: "Matthew found a school hat was closing nearby and was able to save all the slate," Levitt says." "It makes it easy to do temporary signage." Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  Levitt and Touw worked with local furniture designer Andrew Reesor and a group of tenth grade students to create the benches outside the Welcome Hut, which can separate into two seats (as shown) or link together to create a long bench. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    Levitt and Touw worked with local furniture designer Andrew Reesor and a group of tenth grade students to create the benches outside the Welcome Hut, which can separate into two seats (as shown) or link together to create a long bench. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
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  The Evergreen Brick Works permanent welcome center opened this past weekend--but that doesn't mean the end of the Levitt Goodman Architects structure. "We designed it intentionally so that it can be moved and repurposed," Levitt says. With fall in full swing and winter quickly approaching, its most likely next use will be as a change station or hot-chocolate hut for the outdoor skating rink that will be built on site. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.
    The Evergreen Brick Works permanent welcome center opened this past weekend--but that doesn't mean the end of the Levitt Goodman Architects structure. "We designed it intentionally so that it can be moved and repurposed," Levitt says. With fall in full swing and winter quickly approaching, its most likely next use will be as a change station or hot-chocolate hut for the outdoor skating rink that will be built on site. Photo by Ben Rahn, A-Frame Studio.

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