R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant Deterioration carefully reversed

R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant

City of Toronto
Toronto, ON

The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant is a National Historic Engineering Site within a unique landscape setting. The vast scale, the engineering innovation, and the buildings’ architectural design represented a new threshold in Toronto’s history of public infrastructure and design.

THA’s conservation and rehabilitation demonstrates comprehensive and sophisticated work on one of the largest public infrastructure projects in North America.

Over the years, complex reactions between chemical treatments, building envelope and structure, had caused deterioration of all building elements. These reactions, in combination the site’s extreme exposure to Lake Ontario, forced the City into a very major program of repair and reconstruction to the operating facility.

THA conserved material and assembly aspects of limestone, expansive copper roofs, skylights, metal-work and, in the course of the work, developed a new clay brick to replicate the building’s signature material. THA also developed a glazing system that was impact resistant, double-glazed, and controlled ultraviolet light for selective replacement of existing windows.

Various contemporary works were introduced to the site, including a $2 million security gate constructed out of steel and cast aluminum with worm gear drive. The master plan, conservation and new construction were subject to careful review by the City of Toronto and a public advisory committee over the nineteen years of work at the site.

The last phase of work was the redesign of the building envelope for the Filter, Service and Pumping buildings, completed in 2013 in collaboration with CH2M Hill’s Toronto office. THA successfully designed the project to adapt to continuous operation of the facility and quality control throughout the restoration.