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ChocoSol Traders - Emerging Building TechnologiesThe Emerging Building Technologies class traditionally focuses on energy-efficient technologies in architecture, and the need and context for sustainable design. This semester students were challenged with the problem of fitting such technologies into an actual building renovation/addition. Working with a real world client, a fair-trade ‘chocolate factory’ in downtown Toronto, we needed to ensure we understood not only the design problem at hand, but our client’s vision and values. In our client’s words, he would like the intervention to be an ‘off-grid chocolate factory-science centre in the city.’

From our client, Michael Sacco: “In the age of climate change small plot intensive agro-ecology is the only way to feed the world's population while putting more carbon and nitrogen into soil and biomass than in the atmosphere. Small plot intensive urban manufacturing of food is the flip side to this food production model and puts more money directly into the hands of the innovators who are confronting the crisis of climate change. This educational, ecological, and cost effective urban manufacturing design is a way to demonstrate to the city of Toronto the opportunities that this shift in our global ecological, economic, and political policies can present.

This project was an attempt to translate these questions into best practices, local, sustainable, and replicable models at the urban level showing artisans, eco-preneurs, and even ordinary citizens what is possible with lots of initiative and not exorbitant amounts of capital (less than 1.5M).”

As part of Toronto’s initiative to reduce GHG (greenhouse gasses) by 80% by 2050, the Toronto Atmospheric fund is allotting $320 million of grants to initiatives that can reduce emissions and grow the economy. Specifically, “The government has made $49 million available to industrial GHG emitters to encourage adoption of leading-edge technologies, while supporting entrepreneurs in developing creative solutions. Another $25 million is available to help small and medium-sized businesses reduce emissions and become more energy efficient.”

Our scheme aims to make ChocoSol a champion of energy-efficient architectural technologies by making those technologies apparent, observable and accessible by visitors while also fulfilling the program’s primary purpose of being an educational commons for fair-trade chocolate and a chocolate production facility. In this way, we hope to access some of the Atmospheric Fund for our client.

The building is a two-storey store front type building at St. Clair and Dufferin. The addition is situated in a large courtyard at the rear of the building. The client needs to keep the existing building intact and not impede the production facility during construction. At five storeys, a portion of the new addition is cantilevered over the existing building.

Review the impressive results of the assignment.

Have a look at the working drawings.

Find out more about ChocoSol Traders