Track 2: Materials over Time: Points of Change

General Abstract

R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plan Retrofit & Restoration

Tuesday, September 25
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: BNCC- 101BG

Taylor Hazell Architects (THA) conserved this vast National Historic Engineering Site while it remained fully operational in supplying the City of Toronto with 40% of its water. The 14+ year program of restoration and stabilization involved extensive areas of brick wall, limestone, skylights over filter beds, roofing and grounds. The goal of the project was to undertake a masterplan for phased stabilization of a highly deteriorated building envelope (deterioration due to extreme humidity and chemical processes on the interior, and extreme weather conditions on the exterior at the lakeside location) and to undertake a holistic and rigorous materials conservation approach to this early 20th century monument. The project area is 226,400 sq.ft. on a 20-acre site, which comprises massive engineering structures. The building’s material palette is buff brick, finely modulated stone panels, copper roofing, steel windows, skylights, doors and woodwork.

Materials conservation expertise was focused on stone and brick conservation. Principal Charles Hazell managed extensive research and materials testing with the assistance of materials scientists, engineers, and the National Research Council to produce a buff brick matching the character, size and colour of the original. Brick runs over a period of four years were required to refine the clay mix and firing process to produce a well-matched product that could perform in these particular conditions. The story behind this conservation includes the discovery of a buff clay vein in a closed brick manufacturing plant in SW Ontario that was reopened to produce the new run of matching buff brick.

The building’s limestone, brick, steel sash windows, and expansive roof works including skylights over several hundred feet long, and metal work were conserved. There was a coordinated stabilization of structure involving the skills of material experts within our firm, and our engineers. This large-scale project required continuous access by the operators and involved a high security environment. Innovative models were developed for conservation, inspection and testing and have proven beneficial to other similar projects over time. There was extensive archival research on the evolution of the site, and consistent involvement of the community of historical interest during the entire project.

This illustrated lecture will touch upon:
• The site and its national significance as a historic engineering site;
• The extreme interior and exterior environments, and prior errors in repair that contributed to deterioration;
• The degree of brick deterioration, and ethical issues and decisions that led to replacement of great areas of brick;
• The envelope problems;
• The search for matching buff clay brick and associated challenges;
• The discovery of an abandoned brick manufacturing plant in a town devastated by economic downturn; and,
• The rebirth of the brick plant for the production of this brick.

Learning Objectives:

Charles Hazell, OAA, AANB, NSAA, FRAIC, CAHP

Taylor Hazell Architects Ltd

Charles Hazell co-founded Taylor Hazell Architects with Jill Taylor in 1992.

Charles’ portfolio includes projects both large and small in scale. Many of the sites are unusual, complex, and are in a state of transition. Projects include award-winning works in the cultural, judicial, educational and governmental sectors. Examples of his work include the conservation and adaptive reuse of Dundurn Castle, the transformation of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital into a campus for over 6,000 students, the conservation of the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, and the Alderlea Heritage Estate and Conference Centre. Each work is a study in the pursuit of meaning and the power of architecture to inspire, reinvent and renew itself.

Integrated within this work is Charles’ interest in applying the expertise and resources of the firm to the service of understanding social, cultural and material science subjects. Examples of this work include research and design to create new clay masonry products, synthetic stone for the conservation industry, building envelope pre-fabrication and a range of environmental issues.

Charles served as architect and heritage specialist on the Toronto Design Review Panel from 2011–2014, and lectures and appears in media on subjects dealing with planning, conservation and design. He was awarded an RAIC Fellowship in 2014 and has won numerous awards for architecture, planning and building conservation.

-Casa Loma
-Whitney Block
-RC Harris Water Treatment Plant
-Manitoba Legislative Building
-Dundurn Castle and Conference Centre
-Legislative Assembly of Ontario
-Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment
-Former Knox College, University of Toronto
-University College, University of Toronto
-Humber Library
-Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
-Alderlea Heritage Estate
-Huronia Regional Centre
-St. Paul's Catholic Basilica
-Kingston Psychiatric Hospital
-Union Station
-Point Abino Lighthouse
-St. Lawrence Market South


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Frances Gale

University of Texas at Austin

Frances Gale is an architectural conservator with a Master of Science in historic preservation from Columbia University and over thirty-year’s experience in preserving historic buildings and monuments. Fran was a Senior Lecturer and Conservation Scientist at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture for 11years. Other positions have included Architectural Conservator and Training Director for the National Park Service and Director of Technical Services for AMT Laboratories and Prosoco, Inc. Fran’s recent consulting projects include Union Terminal in Cincinnati, the University of Virginia Rotunda, Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in New York, and the Matagorda Island Lighthouse in Texas. Fran was elected to the Association for Preservation Technology International College of Fellows in 2010 and became a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works in 2017.


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R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plan Retrofit & Restoration

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