Arthur Meighen Building Rehabilitation | ?m | 11s | PSPC | DIALOG

gregv

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When the Dominion Public Building at 1 Front St W closes, many employees will move to 25 St Clair E.
Current estimates are that 25 St. Clair will be ready for first tenants in December, 2021.

AMBR_North-Elevation.jpg


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The Arthur Meighen Building is set to be one of the first federal carbon neutral buildings. When complete it will include solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system and will serve as the main Government of Canada building for the Ontario region.

http://www.dialogdesign.ca/projects/arthur-meighen-building-rehabilitation-ambr/

Edited to add from above link:

An Elevated Design
The AMBR project brings two buildings together into one new cohesive space. The existing structures are representative of a federal building typology and preserving this visual symbol of leadership with a modern interpretation was a priority in the design. A glazed diagonal gracing the front elevation serves multiple purposes – on the exterior it’s a nod to the two buildings that came before, while on the interior it creates a large, double-height, light-filled environment that encourages active use of a feature stair and collaboration in the ample open spaces.

A Government of Canada Flagship Model
As part of its Sustainable Design Strategy, the Government of Canada has selected the Arthur Meighen Building as the flagship model to demonstrate their commitment to achieving a carbon neutral building portfolio by 2030. "This project embodies our commitment to improving how we manage energy performance of federal buildings. Through this and other initiatives across government, we are taking steps to reduce our footprint and green our buildings”, says Steven MacKinnon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

A Deep-Energy Retrofit
As Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) began to examine its aging building stock, a feasibility study determined the current building’s greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by more than 80% through deep-energy retrofits to the building envelope and systems. The 10-storey building dating from the 1950s, located in Toronto, Ontario, will undergo a major renovation to achieve the carbon neutral targets and provide the building tenants with a modern workplace environment through the Government of Canada Workplace Fit-up Standards. When complete, the building will serve as the Ontario region’s main Government of Canada building. DIALOG is lead consultant for this major capital project, and will provide architecture, interior design, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, and sustainability consulting; with additional services provided by subconsultants. Together, the team will perform extensive base building upgrades including new mechanical, electrical, life safety systems, seismic upgrades, a new roof and improved building envelope – all leading to carbon neutral building performance.

A Zero Carbon Building Pilot Project
The Arthur Meighen Building has been selected by the CaGBC as a pilot project in its new Zero Carbon Building initiative. A zero carbon building produces, or procures, carbon-free renewable energy in an amount sufficient to offset the annual carbon emissions associated with its operations. This certification evaluates energy use within a building and is awarded to projects achieving a zero-carbon balance after twelve months of operations. As part of the pilot program, and one of only 16 selected to participate, the project team will receive guidance from the CaGBC to meet the Zero Carbon Building Standard. Significantly, CaGBC’s program recognizes the challenges of achieving sustainability targets in existing building retrofits. The Arthur Meighen building will achieve this through geothermal heating and photo-voltaic panels.

Project facts:
Size:
41,085 sq m
Owner: PSPC
Client: Brookfield Global Integrated Services
DIALOG Services: Architecture, Interior Design, Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Sustainability
Collaborators: RDH, Building Envelope; LRI, Life Safety and Building Code; LEA Consulting Ltd., Civil Engineering
Construction Manager: Urbacon
 
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adma

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For all the Zero Carbon greenwash, the fact that they saw fit to destroy the existing exterior (1950s Charles Dolphin at his most audaciously proto-Postmodern) without the slightest concern or acknowledgment or consultation re its being of potential architectural, contextual, heritage etc significance is, in terms of 2018, absolutely flabbergasting.
 

maestro

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On top of what has been said, I appreciate the two distinct designs that make up the long block. This is uncreative and boring which extends down to streetlevel. .
 

thefreak

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I honestly don't see what the fuss is about. Does anyone think the existing building is a masterpiece?? Bland as hell if you ask me. I think 80% carbon reduction is a fine trade off for this boring facade. But maybe I don't appreciate the subtlety of this "proto-postmodern" work.
 

Full Metal Junkie

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I honestly don't see what the fuss is about. Does anyone think the existing building is a masterpiece?? Bland as hell if you ask me. I think 80% carbon reduction is a fine trade off for this boring facade. But maybe I don't appreciate the subtlety of this "proto-postmodern" work.
I absolutely agree with you. Personally, I never see things like facadism or sticking a glass tower on top of a heritage building as any sort of heritage destruction, but I am a minority in that regard. At least I can understand the arguments people are making in that case. But complaining about this building getting a major facelift? This I can't even comprehend. It's ugly AF. Just because something is old, does not necessary mean it is valuable or 'heritage'. This just reminds me of people calling the Gardiner off-ramp bents at York St. and Queen's Quay 'heritage' and creating a petition against their removal. Calling for preservation of the bents or this building's facade has nothing to do with heritage preservation, it is simply resistance to change for no good reason. Bas-relief stonework is the only exception to my statement, but even that I don't think has to stay in place. They can repurpose it elsewhere.
 

maestro

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You're reading too much into things. No one beside Adma is suggesting this is off limits.. The update is simply not an improvement. It's arguably blander than the original and doesn't address the problems with original design. In fact, it makes thing worse. The old one at least punctuated the wall in front of the garage and loading dock. The new version has a solid wall. Surely the government can afford to do more with the Ontario head office without bankrupting the country. How much did the West Block renos cost?

New buildings systems are extremely efficient. The carbon neutral or carbon reduction argument isn't nearly as impactful as it is being marketed. Replacing the parking spaces with retail would be more of a statement.
 
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thefreak

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You're reading too much into things. No one beside Adma is suggesting this is off limits.. The update is simply not an improvement. It's arguably blander than the original and doesn't address the problems with original design. In fact, it makes thing worse. The old one at least punctuated the wall in front of the garage and loading dock. The new version has a solid wall. Surely the government can afford to do more with the Ontario head office without bankrupting the country. How much did the West Block renos cost?

New buildings systems are extremely efficient. The carbon neutral or carbon reduction argument isn't nearly as impactful as it is being marketed. Replacing the parking spaces with retail would be more of a statement.
How would you address the problems of the original design and replace the parking without tearing down the building? I don't see anything wrong with this proposal. They are updating a federal office building that needs updating without wasting money. This was no beauty to begin with and it wont be a beauty when complete. Not every building needs to look great - they just need to function. Especially when paid for buy us. If the building had a prominent location or significance I would argue otherwise (like the court house) but it doesn't. Its just a regular old office building on a boring office block.
 

ProjectEnd

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For all the Zero Carbon greenwash, the fact that they saw fit to destroy the existing exterior (1950s Charles Dolphin at his most audaciously proto-Postmodern) without the slightest concern or acknowledgment or consultation re its being of potential architectural, contextual, heritage etc significance is, in terms of 2018, absolutely flabbergasting.

Holy hell I miss you @adma. Please come back...
 

RonThom

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The art deco panels have been removed from the building. They were taken down by crews with sledgehammers and crowbars. They did take them down in one piece and appeared to be trying to save them, but it wasn't exactly plastic surgery in terms of methods.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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The art deco panels have been removed from the building. They were taken down by crews with sledgehammers and crowbars. They did take them down in one piece and appeared to be trying to save them, but it wasn't exactly plastic surgery in terms of methods.

Sounds like a slight improvement over Bonwit Teller at least.

AoD
 

adma

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Holy hell I miss you @adma. Please come back...

As long as wilfully untutored message-boarding armchair-amateur "urban experts" who probably wouldn't know the name "Charles Dolphin" from a hole in the head rule the roost, I'm continuing to hold back my activity.
 

Full Metal Junkie

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As long as wilfully untutored message-boarding armchair-amateur "urban experts" who probably wouldn't know the name "Charles Dolphin" from a hole in the head rule the roost, I'm continuing to hold back my activity.
Come on, @adma, that is not an approach that is going to win any battles. All opinions matter, they add value to the discussion. I would love to know why you think this building has heritage value and should be preserved. I think such discussions should take place here in a civilized and intelligent manner. Who knows, maybe once you present your argument, you may win some people over, including myself. But staying silent just empowers the vocal majority even more. Who knows, maybe the vocal people are just a minority and they are only vocal because no one ever challenged their opinion.
So, in my humble opinion (and I'm open to my mind being changed), Charles B. Dolphin is the perfect example of everything wrong with Toronto architecture of the past. It is boring, uninspired, forgettable at best, but most commonly displeasing. This building and Hudson's Bay at Yonge/Bloor are examples of the displeasing architecture by Charles Dolphin, in my personal opinion. Just because something is old, it should not automatically qualify for the heritage designation status. Bad architecture, such as this building, should be gotten rid of over time.
To take my argument to the extreme, I present you with this "beauty", the marvel of contemporary architecture, the dreaded grey spandrel window wall tower:
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Now, this tower is brand new, no one will touch it for decades. But in about 40 years or so it will be old, the window-wall system will be failing all over the place, the residents will have no choice but to re-clad the whole thing. Should this building, at that point, be considered 'heritage', just because it is old? Should the folks recladding it be concerned about the architectural expression the architect envisioned when designing it? Should they restore it true to original? Or should they look at it as a piece of fecal matter that it is and say "to hell with it, we are going to try to make it look better"?

I am genuinely curious about what you think about this. Looking forward to your reply.
 

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