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LOCATION: Caledon, Ontario
Architects in joint venture with Black & Veatch Engineering
: Michael Poitras, Principal-in-Charge
: Open Design Competition – Second Place

CLIENT: Region of Peel


  • No. of storeys: 2
  • Total floor area: 153,440 ft2 (14,255 m2)
  • Parking: 24
  • Loading docks: 2


  • Grey precast concrete panels
  • Kalwall (insulated translucent fiberglass wall panels)
  • Prefinished standing seam metal roof
  • Brushed stainless steel planter boxes
  • Poured-in-place service yard & retaining wall
  • Crushed limestone gravel road
  • Grass covered berms
  • Outdoor landscaping

General Program:

  • Reservoirs (1, 2 & 3)
  • Valve house
  • Covered outdoor storage space
  • Loading docks: 2
  • Service yard
  • Storm water management pond

Cost: Withheld

Victoria Reservoir

Our competition entry for the Victoria Reservoir in Caledon, Ontario appeared to be straightforward enough, until we realized that the selected site, an open farm field, was to be engulfed by a residential subdivision some time in the future. An atypical challenge for modern industrial design. Like most architecturally designed buildings, the built fabric of a neighbourhood has an impact on any new building’s final form. Whether it be sharing similar details, materials, or a little of both, the essence of the neighbourhood typically can be felt in the new architecture. Here however, the neighbourhood was not going to be constructed for many years, providing us with virtually no information to work with, beyond the reservoir’s specific program.

With this understanding in place, we began to ask ourselves how one would go about designing a very large utilitarian building, that would comfortably fit into two very different surroundings. What resulted was a “mound”, a modern industrial design more akin to a natural landscape feature, than built form. As such, the bulk of the project – the reservoirs (1,2 & 3) – is continuously wrapped in grass covered earth berms, with a series of maple trees lining the roof’s edge. To the front of the project the two-storey valve house extends the sidewall earth berms to form a continuous grass covered arched roof. Cantilevered from it is a “wave” shaped canopy, symbolically referencing water, with flower filled planter boxes, storage areas, loading docks and the main entrance door placed beneath it.

Completing the “mound’s” composition, a service yard with vehicular parking is placed just outside the front door, with a storm water management pond located just beyond that. Encircled with more maple trees along with ornamental grasses growing next to the pond, the “mound’s’” oval-shaped form is completed. For a final natural touch, we lined the service road leading to the reservoir with paired poplar trees, adding scale and rhythm to this nature-inspired project.

As one drives past the open field where the Victoria Reservoir is built, there is a good chance that its presence would not even be felt. In future, when surrounded by one and two-storey subdivision houses, the Victoria Reservoir will be welcomed like a community park, while altogether hiding its true purpose of water purification.

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