Track 3: For Power or For Passage: Re-envisioning Historic Industrial and Transportation Infrastructure
3 - The Wellington Destructor: Repurposing an garbage incinerator
Monday, September 24
2:45 PM - 4:15 PM
The Wellington Destructor is a garbage incinerator that was constructed in the 1920s. It has been abandoned since the 1970s. EVOQ and our consultant team have been retained to complete the building condition assessment of the structure, detailed structural evaluation, and cost estimate for the rehabilitation; to evaluate the heritage character and character defining elements; to prepare schematic designs for potential uses (including the code implications), and to work with the financial advisors who are preparing the RFP for finding a partner for the city's redevelopment plan. The city will retain ownership of the building and wants to develop a long term lease with its future partner. Several financing options are being considered.
Given the building has been abandoned for decades, it is in poor condition. The team are evaluating which parts can be retained and which may have to be demolished. This assessment is done based on both the structural and material condition of the different areas and the assessment of their heritage value. The building is being analyzed as a system rather than as an architectural construction. Each space served a specific purpose and function in the conveyance and incineration of garbage, and then in the management of the resulting ash and smoke. The heritage value of the different building components was assessed based on their different role and importance in the overall operations. Given the past use of the building, the floors are embedded with Designated Substances.
The physical assessment included a detailed envelope survey including exploratory openings. GPR scanning was conducted on the slabs. Cores were taken in various locations for compressive and chloride testing and tensile strength tests were performed on steel coupons cut from the trusses. The exact loading capacity of the slabs, roof and columns was calculated in order to help determine what possible new programmes could be accommodated.
The masonry was surveyed including a mapping of the cracks and deteriorations. Crack patterns and a review of original construction photographs and archival drawings indicated a complete lack of structural columns and supports at the corners of the building. At every embedded steel pilaster, the exploratory openings confirmed that the lack of collar joint resulted in spalling off a whole wythe of bricks in some area and deep cracks in others. The water infiltration at the parapets, roof and broken windows, and the lack of any heat in the building, exacerbated the deterioration of the upper brick walls and window surrounds, and resulted in large areas where all the brick faces are spalled and cracked.
The challenge has been to determine what can be saved, what cannot, and how to develop the sequence of repairs to address the building’s structural, envelope and DSS challenges.
- Analyze the challenges of assessing the heritage value of structures that were designed for a specific and how they can be repurposed once that function is gone.
- Develop evaluation criteria to determine what can be preserved and what may be demolished, and what should be rebuilt, and what could be left replaced with a different form.
- Explore the strategies to finding appropriate development partners who can work with the building owner to preserve the building.
- Examine different survey and critical assessment strategies when surveying a building in difficult conditions.