The Award of Merit in Conservation – Architecture was given to Philip Evans, ERA Architects Inc., for the Tower Automotive Building for demonstrating an intelligent, restrained intervention that effectively showcases the character of the building and allows its new functions to be accommodated while not dominating the building’s character. The renewal of this historic industrial building successfully celebrates the bones of the building, modern graffiti movements, and photography of its aging over time. The judges were impressed by the project’s ability to capture its industrial roots by highlighting its heritage features in a raw manner.
The Tower Automotive Building, a landmark in Toronto’s industrial Lower Junction Triangle, is a 9,700sm (104,414 sf) heritage-designated warehouse completed in 1920 for the Northern Aluminum Company. This vestigial industrial building has now been transformed into a multi-storey cultural hub anchored by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Canada’s newest public gallery dedicated to international contemporary art.
In collaboration with the lead architects, architectsAlliance, ERA worked to ensure that all new interventions would be complementary and sympathetic to the building’s original use and character. The building and its principal tenant now serve as a new creative engine at the heart of a traditionally working-class neighbourhood, and provide a legacy use that honours the historical importance of the building.