Zero Carbon Energy Retrofit and Renewal

As several governments are declaring a climate emergency across the globe, it is critical for architects to be continuously conscious of the energy impact of buildings, while balancing the tools and strategies for sustainable buildings with beautiful architecture. This project is a net zero carbon building renewal of the existing Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science building completed in 1981 by Ron Thom. Currently the architecture building’s double atrium interior heavily promotes interaction between students, however sometimes even the existence of the program is unknown to others on campus. The key objectives of this building renewal are to encourage the exterior to interior relationship of the building, and to strengthen the sense of identity for the architecture program.
The concrete structure of the existing building was maintained, a new high-performance envelope replaced the previous precast panel facade, and a fifth floor was added to accommodate for programmatic needs. The materiality of the envelope focused on having a low embodied carbon, utilizing wood slats of varying sizes and structural insulated rammed earth, which allows for the building to become warm and inviting in comparison to the preceding cold and desolate concrete exterior. Other strategies explored include maintaining a window-to-wall ratio of 40%, implementing efficient, electrified mechanical systems, and introducing on-site renewable energy sources.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.