The transformation of a former garbage incinerator in Toronto’s west end into the new home of Junction Craft Brewing has been recognized with an adaptive reuse award.
Constructed in 1934, the art deco building once known as the Symes Road Destructor later served as a waste transfer facility before being decommissioned in 1996.
The building and its 5.5 acre site were listed for sale by Build Toronto in 2010. The building was fully renovated after being acquired by a Toronto developer in 2012.
Anchor tenants are Junction Craft Brewing and The Symes, an events venue.
The Junction Craft micro-brewery project was the recipient of the 2018 Paul Oberman Award for Adaptive Reuse (corporate) from the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.
The organization said the redesign and refurbishment of the Symes Road Destructor by Junction Craft Brewing and PLANT Architect Inc. was “an impressive example” of the adaptive reuse of a venerable heritage building by a business.
“Their work retained the stunning art deco design and industrial character of the site, while repurposing it for a technically demanding manufacturing system,” said the organization.
The building was designated a heritage property in 2012.
Junction Craft Brewing’s 1,358-square-metre space houses a brewery, taproom, retail space and office space. Fermentation tanks are located in the upper mezzanine.
The brewery has been designed to perform double duty as an events venue.
“We wanted to keep the space as raw and flexible as possible,” said Lisa Rapoport, partner in charge of the project at Toronto-based PLANT Architect Inc.
“We left the marks of time and successive alterations on the interior walls and aimed to create a space that would fully support the brewery’s operations while also being a great place to meet a few friends for a drink or hold a large social gathering.”
Since opening in April, the building has hosted gatherings ranging from rock concerts to catered private parties and even a number of weddings.
The design and construction of the Symes Road Destructor took place under R.C. Harris, Toronto’s longest serving commissioner of public works.
Converted into a waste transfer facility in the 1970s, the building is considered a rare survivor of west Toronto’s early 20th century industrial era.
In renovating the space, PLANT took care to preserve the original interior brick and openings.
The project puts the brewery’s industrial processes, from brewing to packaging, squarely in the foreground within the large space which is fronted with a bar, event and retail space.
Raw industrial materials with art deco elements and tall windows dominate the interior.
“There is a real mixing of social and industrial spaces,” said Rapoport, whose firm was retained in 2015 by Junction Craft Brewing to redesign the interior space.
But before the space could be renovated, the site had to be rezoned, which proved to be a lengthy process. Toronto architect Jedd Jones steered the project through the rezoning and site plan approval process.
The brewery space ultimately was renovated by Arguson Projects Inc.
“It’s a total jewel,” Rapoport said of the brewing company’s new home. “It has become a destination in itself.”