The Robertson Building is a restored warehouse and showroom that is home to a cluster of community businesses, social entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations.
The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina was originally home to the James Robertson Company, manufacturers and distributors of plumbing fittings and fixtures. The building was constructed in 1911 to be the heart of the company's operations and included the main showroom for their products. The building's original Douglas fir post and beam construction, brick work, and wood floors are in keeping with the industrial style of the time. These features now provide the ideal environment for creative ideas to take shape.
Green elements are a striking part of the eco-restorative design of the Robertson Building. In March 2004, a 250 square foot living, breathing plant wall (bio-wall) designed by Air Quality Solutions (now Nedlaw Living Walls) was installed in the lobby of the Robertson building. The bio-wall is composed of several varieties of native and exotic flowering plants. These plant species were selected for their ability to reduce indoor air contaminants that float inside the building and from traffic on Spadina Avenue.
In June 2004, an extensive 4,000 square foot green roof was installed over the Robertson roof. The green roof was designed and installed by Gardens in the Sky. The green roof is supported by five inches of organic, light-weight planting material and a host of native plant species that are thriving in this elevated ecosystem. To complement the green roof, a greenhouse and cedar viewing deck were installed so that tenants and special guests can enjoy a spectacular skyline view of the city.
The extensive green roof provides several other important environmental benefits to Toronto including: a habitat for birds, insects and other plant species; a micro-climate that reduces urban heat island effect; the retention of storm water when it rains preventing sewer overflow into Lake Ontario; the reduction of air pollutants by trapping and degrading contaminants; and protection of the roof membrane from harsh temperature changes giving greater longevity to a conventional roof.