March April Construction Blog
Over the past two months our focus at cSPACE has been occupied with respondents to our most recent tenant call – yet onsite at King Edward construction has progressed unabated, both on the grounds and within sandstone walls.
While we are still a few weeks from announcing our incoming roster of tenants, we hope that this construction update continues to fuel your excitement with everything from foundation demolition and heritage reconstruction, to a little sum of everything in-between.
Starting up on the lofty heights of King Edward’s roof, our bricklayers have been working to press rewind on the historic chimney. After a hundred-plus-years of service, the chimney is being reinstated to the opposite corner of the school.
This slight of hand requires that each brick be documented, identified and debonded from its current location. Each piece of stone is then moved four stories to the ground and carefully stored while awaiting reconstruction.
A new internal chimney shaft is to be constructed to support the restoration of the historic blocks above. Adjusting the length of historic chalkboards and creating new fire rated enclosure are all required to exhaust our new boilers.
Down in the new mechanical room, our newly installed and highly efficient, German fabricated hot water condensing boilers are well underway towards being in service.
In the artist studios across the hall, a temporary welding shop is compiling multiple pipe connections to link up a complex system required for this LEED Gold heating and cooling plant.
Much like the project itself with the ambition for multiple dividends for the community at large, we are certain that the culmination of everyone’s efforts will tally up to more than the sum of their parts.
As a tribute to our historic boilers, concrete pits have now been built into the terrazzo floor to house these cast iron artifacts. With LED lighting and glass above, we look forward to how these framed heritage boilers will be featured and inspirational in the school’s new life as a creative hub.
Down in the old historic boiler room, the new heat recovery ventilator is also being connected up. After its epic installation and being under wraps for the past few months, the wrapping has been removed for connections to be made and to allow for the provision of fresh air ventilation to come.
One discovery revealed with unwrapping, is the plaque from Scott Springfield Manufacturing that has been installed with the signatures that mark the multiple hands, much like this school itself, that have been involved to build this unit – with pride.
Up in the attic with framed in walls, roof insulation and skylight frames in place – we can see the vision for the attic studio spaces get closer to their full realization.
Plywood backing for drywall is now in place to support artistic practice with a robust hanging surface.
The captivating cupola view has also been drywalled and awaits heritage renovation above and a skylight to complete the picture.
Construction of interior walls throughout the facility is now also underway. Alongside washroom enclosures, exit doors into the stairways have been introduced.
Change of former classrooms into tenant spaces is now also taking form. Given the demand by smaller organizations for intimate office spaces, several classrooms have been divided into 400 square foot tenant suites.
Careful detailing around historic chalkboards along with new windows slated for installation will certainly add up to well appointed space to support our community’s creative missions.
Along the west side of King Edward, the unearthing of the former 1912 foundations has been initiated to make way for redevelopment and our new theatre space.
As mentioned in a previous blog, a structural failure necessitated the demolition of this former west wing, but the historic foundations still remain just under the surface.
Over five feet wide along the footing, this massive volume of concrete needs to be removed to make way for our new west wing pile foundations.
To accomplish this task, the first order of business was to separate the portion of the foundation that is now obsolete.
Finessing where and how to cut has involved setting up a looped cutting line running at hundreds of metres per second and guided by careful tensile adjustments.
Seeing the concrete dust fly and a simple line and pulley guide spinning at mock speed, was quite the sight, especially against the massiveness of walls themselves.
With incisions complete, excavators were reemployed to remove the foundation debris from what remained of the lost wing – while removing any physical impediment for our new west wing’s construction to begin.
Along the southeast corner of the building a concrete momento from the 1950s gymnasium was also demoed – to some extent. After considered deliberation of how to address an unfortunate concrete wall bonded to sandstone, we decided to leave most in place to avert any structural risks.
Precise cuts and selective demolition was employed however to remove large 15” thick slabs of concrete to reveal historic window openings that have been covered for over 60 years.
The eventual finish for this portion of the building will be of a contemporary expression in the architectural language employed for other portions of new construction, or where historic fabric has been lost.
With openings and cores cut for access, chain and help from an excavator’s bucket was used to wiggle free these massive concrete slabs. After all this heavy lifting we are pleased that once again the light and natural ventilation can come through into the studio space within.
Additional excavation was also required around the remaining historic foundation, not for demolition but to improve the building envelope’s future prospects.
With new waterproof membrane and weeping tile installed, we now anticipate that the foundation of this old school will be protected for many more years to come.
In the background, of this last shot, we were also graced with the delivery of our new hydraulic elevator. Arriving in pieces on a flatbed truck, installation will be initiated shortly to provide the facility with accessibility to all and valuable loading features for our tenants.
Requiring substantial attention due to alteration in the 1960s, the northeast stair will become eventually become a new contemporary entrance to the facility.
While some historic fabric will need masonry and plaster repair, we also are excited how the arts community will respond to this location as one of our three public art sites.
In wrapping up this blog, we are excited that our plasterers are closing up incisions into shaft walls and for electricians who are pulling wire through newly installed conduit. We hope you stay tuned in the coming weeks for exciting announcements related to our Public Art Call and to continued construction developments as we get all the closer to reopening King Edward’s doors!