Ontario College of Art and Design



Sep '06 - Jul '07

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    Of Engineers and cooling systems.

    By Arnaud M.
    Nov 12, '06 10:28 PM EST

    On friday I had an appointment /brainstorming session with one of Toronto's top engineering firms. One of last year's teachers, keeping an eye on my thesis, spontaneously offered me to meet with these guys, whom he had know for many years. The meeting ended-up being extremely fruitful, although I felt like a little kid, trying to participate to an adult conversation. They helped to find a good way to use the silos' huge volume in an efficient manner. These guys were extremely knowledgeable, creative and very friendly, which somewhat surprised me as I imagined all engineers to be condescending with architects/designers and NOT creative... And I was totally wrong.

    After a while discussing the opportunities to use the silos as a sort of recycling plant, we figured out that the best possibility might just be to use this huge volume as an ice storage that would be connected to toronto's deep lake water cooling. It would just require an enormous chiller that would work during off-peak hours. In a nutshell, this facility could pretty much double the deep lake water cooling system capacity by melting the ice when required and transferring the cold to surrounding buildings cooling systems. By functionning the chiller during off-peak hours, it would prevent the use of coal or gaz-fired plants to operate energy hungry standard air conditionning, and rather function on nuclear or water-generated electricity.

    Since I want to keep the silos structural integrity in order to dispose of the maximum volume available, one of the solutions to include the programmatic elements in the site, would be to use the silos as the structure core and hang programmatic elements of off it. Not unlike this building in Vancouver.

    Now I'm all pumped up, since the project has been brought to the next level and I've been talking with professionals, I feel somewhat important ;-). I might also meet with the CEO of Enwave (the company that operates the deep water cooling system) and I'm thinking that having a couple of these people to my final crit could be great (one of the engineers and a guy from enwave). It is really thrilling to think that some of my design ideas could be built if the right partners would come at the discussion table, I feel like I'm on the right track...

    Let's get back to the drawing board, now. I have to lay down on paper all my craziest schemes.

    To come next: some masterplan and design sketches and other exciting stories.


    • treekiller

      on the left coast, there is a company, Ice-Bear, that makes residential scale ice storage systems- never thought that toronto would need that much cooling... If you have the volume, why not try to use natural cooling ie winter, to provide the chills and just have massive levels of insulation???? even less energy burned to get the same results.

      Nov 13, 06 8:43 pm  · 
      Arnaud M.

      The left coast?

      I don't know if even canadian cold winter could freeze such a huge amount of water, we're talking here about 35,000-40,000 cubic meters of water. Since water has so much inertia, combined with the foot-thick concrete walls, I don't know if it would even start to freeze. The trick is to run the chiller at off-peak hours, when the electricity is readily available and produced anyways, cause nuclear plants and dams never stop.
      In summer toronto is pretty hot. It wouldn't need that much cooling if buidlings were better designed...

      Nov 13, 06 8:51 pm  · 

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