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Architecture Monday

January 4, 2016

While I was in Toronto over the holidays, I took the chance to visit the Wychwood Barns (that I spoke of in an earlier Architecture Monday post). I wanted to see for myself what it was like, and get a chance to visit the interiors, and see if it was the glorious adaptive reuse project I made it to be in my mind.

And it rocks.

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The middle of the “barns” was turned into an interior street, complete with doors leading to the various residents of barns 2 and 4 – a restaurant, offices, education, artist studios, and more. Bisected above by a long skylight, the space is inviting and the patina of age from the barn’s previous use really lends a great air of approachability. Modern signage contrasts well with this aged background, while old streetcar signage is turned into a sculpture of sorts. With roll-up doors at either end, the street can fully open and take advantage of the landscaped grounds nearby.

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Other touches of the past also remain, including safety signage (befitting the industrial history of the shed), the old doors to barn 4 (turned into a (inaccessible to me that day) greenhouse), and the empty shell of barn 5 that forms the axis pathway to the whole site.

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That this was a successful intervention was evident even in the middle of a weekday afternoon during a holiday shutdown. Several families were out and using the grounds, with children playing and adults reading, and when I encountered the janitor within, he struck up an immediate conversation, and we talked easily about the building.

The adaptive reuse lover in me had a field day.  Totally loved it.

Bonus photo! Behold, the adorable defibrillator robot guardian:

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