The Brief

Sustainable-design helps us use less, and conserve more. We teamed with Waterfront Toronto to develop an environmentally-minded stormwater conveyance system that now features prominently within one of the world’s largest waterfront renewal projects.

Project Overview

Sustainable designs support sustainable cities

Environmental sustainability cannot live in a silo. It must be a fundamental consideration at every stage of the design process. That’s how we ensure everything we create today is prepared to withstand whatever happens tomorrow. When Waterfront Toronto engaged our team to provide preliminary and detailed design engineering services for a new stormwater facility, we seized this opportunity to create a solution that would make for a more sustainable urban core.

Context is critical when designing a facility of this nature. You must understand how a given project fits into the bigger picture to map the best possible path forward. On this engagement, that meant diving deep to comprehend Waterfront Toronto’s over-arching goals. This facility would play a huge role in one of Canada’s largest urban renewal projects; one already gaining visibility on the world stage. This $30 billion revitalization project would span 800 ha of former industrial land; include 6,000 residential units (as well as commercial use space); and serve as home to athletes attending the 2015 Pan American Games. Our designs would help protect the surrounding lands from Don River flooding by contributing to a new, comprehensive stormwater management system built to redefine possibilities along this part of Toronto’s shoreline.

With those critical puzzle pieces in place, we set out to design tunnel sewers, an end-of-pipe oil grit separator, a stormwater retention tank, flushing system and tunnel outfall. Water treatment would also be performed within the same facility, upping the need for innovative thinking on our part.

By baking in screening, ballasted flocculation and UV disinfection, we created a future-focused design. That forward-looking concept extended to the building itself, too. We designed the structure to meet LEED Gold standards, and include energy-efficient features. This included the architectural design, which featured a unique building shape and concrete finish. Mining tunnels from the main shaft, and the use of pre-case concrete components during installation, enabled Waterfront Toronto to save on construction costs while speeding up this environmentally-driven project. From lake water dehumidification to heat recovery and an optimized design for building insulation: sustainability was at the fore throughout our design process.

Looking forward, Toronto can now rely on an infrastructure system that’s meant to last. It is characterized by key facilities like this one, designed to meet stringent regulations around water quality, and capable of adequately treating and conveying excess flows to Lake Ontario. This matters. The way we factor environmental considerations into your designs now will have a lasting impact on cities like Toronto for generations to come.