Toronto and Region Conservation Authority TRCA, Toronto, ON, Canada

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority TRCA

Already a well-established team in Europe, this was the first collaboration between bucholz mcevoy architects and Transsolar in North America.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) goal is to protect the watersheds of the Toronto region by regulating developments near environmentally sensitive areas, environmental monitoring and community engagement. The new facility will provide 100,000 square feet of adaptive office space and demonstrate TRCA’s commitment to green infrastructure. It is located on a noteworthy site where the original TRCA building once stood and, naturally, near a ravine it is dedicated to protect.

Transsolar is working to demonstrate TRCA’s leadership by creating an exemplary sustainable workplace that encourages occupants to engage with the site’s ravine landscape. The new TRCA headquarters will be located in a mass timber structure, impacting the entire look and ambition of the project. The building will show what is possible by maximizing the use of passive systems though a climate responsive façade, complemented by energy-efficient active systems including a geothermal field.

The mass timber structure has a climate-responsive envelope, featuring more glass on the south side and less on the others for optimal passive solar heat gain. The southern façade is optimally glazed and features operable exterior shading. A secondary skin in front of the shading allows for heating of the air before entering the building in cooler months. The other sides of the building have triple-glazed windows with fixed vertical fin shading.

A central atrium with triple-glazed skylights ensures that as much natural light as possible enters the building and serves as a collection point for ventilation air.

The building does not have a central fan room, and taking it a step further, uses transparent shafts in the atriums for both mechanical and natural ventilation. Specially developed waterwalls tie in with the mission of the TRCA and allow for a connection to nature while also reducing energy use.

This facility will be an exemplar for TRCA stakeholders, encouraging others to develop projects using a similar attitude for a positive impact on the local and regional society, ecology, and the economy. The structure is targeting LEEDv4 Platinum, WELL Silver and is a CaGBC Zero Carbon Building Standard pilot project.