Toronto conservation and restoration services centre

Simplicity of design and execution make a winner

The north elevation. All windows are operable for natural ventilation

In cross-section, this two storey, 1,115 sq.m office building is a simple flat roofed rectangle, the upper level being a partial mezzanine leaving double height spaces to promote stratification of warm air. In plan the building is elongated in the east-west direction, maximizing the benefits of north and south exposure for day-lighting and passive solar heating.
A projecting loggia on the south facade serves multiple functions: an entrance portico, a solar shading device, a supporting structure for photovoltaic arrays and a trellis for aromatic plants.
The materials palette is limited to durable, locally sourced materials, including an engineered wood frame, clad with wood and brick masonry - much of which was reclaimed from previously demolished buildings in the area.
The building is heated using heat pumps connected to a ground source loop. Heat is delivered by a radiant slab system that also provides some supplementary cooling, although the majority of cooling load is met by chilled water fan coil units.
Fresh air is delivered to the basement via concrete earth tubes utilizing constant subterranean temperatures to condition incoming air. Heat recovery ventilators deliver 100% outside air via displacement ventilation.
Waterless urinals and composting toilets completely eliminate the use of water for the conveyance of waste.
As Ontario’s first LEED Platinum building, the Restoration Services Centre clearly illustrates the environmental and energy performance benefits of informed strategic decision-making, simplicity of design and straightforward execution.

[Refer to SABMag, Mar/Apr 2008 Issue for more details on this project]

jury comments

With a LEED Platinum rating, the project is a textbook case for simplicity of design. It has a beautiful industrial shed feel and a pleasing modesty, while also being generous in its volumes of interior space. The design takes an intelligent technical approach with ground source heating, ponds for grey water use and storm run-off, low VOC materials and low-velocity displacement ventilation to name a few. Building orientation and footprint size to maximize natural daylighting and ventilation were well conceived.

Watch a video of the jury commenting on the project on youtube:


  • Architect: Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc., Toronto
  • Owner/Developer: Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, Woodbridge, ON
  • General Contractor: Percon Construction Inc., Mississauga, ON
  • Landscape Architect: Ron Koudys Landscape Architect, London, ON
  • LEED Consultant, Mechanical and Electrical Design, Commissioning: Enermodal Engineering, Kitchener, ON
  • Structural Engineer: Read Jones Christoffersen, Toronto, Vancouver
  • Photographer: Tom Arban, Toronto


  • Structure: Engineered wood frame FSC-certified Douglas fir post and beam, FSC- certified SPF roof and wall construction, FSC-certified western red cedar exterior architectural screens; concrete slab.
  • Exterior: FSC -certified pre-finished wood siding, salvaged brick, corrugated metal siding by VicWest, Tyvek air barrier, Owens-Corning insulation, reflective TPO roofing, operable energy efficient windows.
  • HVAC: Ground source heat pumps, heat recovery ventilators, photovoltaic panels, radiant slab heating and cooling, power generated from renewable sources; composting toilets, waterless urinals.
  • Interior: Building automation systems and lighting controls to conserve energy, drywall with low VOC paint, InterfaceFLOR carpet tile, epoxy coating on concrete slab, CO2 sensors, office furniture systems by Teknion, maple veneer on UHF-free medium density fibreboard.
  • Building gross area: 1,115 sq.m

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