Scott Street Signal Tower Generator

Behind the Design of an Award-Winning Facade in Toronto

2023 Best of Year Winner for Facade

Designed in 1930 by Canadian Pacific Railway chief building engineer John Wilson Orrock, the Scott Street signal tower’s square form, arched Italianate windows, and hipped roof make it a significant piece of heritage infrastructure in Toronto. The defunct edifice served as inspiration for RDHA Architects when the firm was commissioned to design a new emergency generator facility located next door. Conceived as a contemporary urban object that honors its venerable neighbor, the 3,600-square-foot steel-frame structure encloses the electrical generating plant behind a naturally ventilating skin. The latter comprises a shimmering expanse of polished aluminum panels that can be opened and shut to allow for passive airflow–cooling of the equipment when needed. Arranged in three tiers corresponding to datum lines on the historic tower, the dynamic facade is also a subtly reflective surface that mirrors its older companion both figuratively and literally, but in unmistakably modern form.

Best of Year Awards 2023

See Interior Design’s Best of Year Winners and Honorees

Explore must-see projects and innovative products that took home high honors.

Scott Street Signal Tower Generator
gray panels on a building facade

tyler sharp; bob goyeche; rob boyko; patrick liu; marco tavaligni; ian huff; elizabeth antczak; john bettio.

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