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RDHA Unveils Innovative Emergency Generator Tower Adjacent to Historic Union Station Signal Tower


In a groundbreaking move aimed at enhancing emergency preparedness, Toronto-based architecture studio RDHA has revealed its latest creation—a state-of-the-art emergency generator tower designed for Metrolinx, the agency overseeing public transit in Toronto. This cutting-edge generator, strategically positioned to power Toronto’s iconic Union Station during emergencies, seamlessly integrates with the historical landscape.

Situated adjacent to a defunct signal tower constructed in 1930 for the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the new generator building pays homage to its historic neighbor, designed by John Wilson Orrock and renowned for its Italianate details. RDHA’s design incorporates subtle cues from the Orrock tower, with horizontal datum lines connecting the two structures.

A scalloped retaining wall serves as a link between the old and new, maintaining the grade change between track and street levels. Inspired by arched forms found on the historic tower, the retaining wall is set to be transformed into a green space along the rail tracks, adding aesthetic appeal and ecological value.

Internally, the generator embraces sustainable practices with energy-efficient LED lighting, daylight sensors, and temperature optimization systems, catering to the needs of municipal employees utilizing the space. The building’s structural integrity is ensured by a combination of concrete piles and walls, with a steel frame supporting both the walls and façade panels.

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