Artscape Wychwood Barns

Front Entrance

Adaptive reuse was the response to a problem that was facing Wychwood Community. Wychwood Community identified the barns that are located south of St. Clair West on Christie Street as the problem. The buildings are a historical landmark that has been converted into a community centre. Architect Joe Lobko and City Councilor Joe Mihevc were able to transform Wychwood industrial buildings in to a multipurpose space [1].  Lobko, with the help of the community, was able to identify the activities the Wychwood was missing. He came up with a program of activities that can educate the community, share a partnership with nonprofit organizations and allow Toronto’s culture to grow [2].

Barn 1 From the South Side

Wychwood Barns is a collection of 5 barns that was built on a 4.3 acre land [2]. The original barn was built in 1913 to 1921 as industrial building [3] [4].  They were original built out of brick cladding two story high with an interior steel structure that was exposed. Once the industrial components were striped from the shell, the space was able to be molded into the program. Lobko retained most of the exterior envelope only adding few additions of glazing. He programmed Barn 1 as a private live work studio and housing for community artist, while barn 2 was made into a community gathering space [3][4]. The space became an open covered street that is two story high and 60 meters long, 10 meters wide. Barn 3 and 4 are private public spaces where non-profit organization can operate. In barn 4 especially is The Stop, a nonprofit organization that specialize in teaching children about food and healthy food choices [3] [4]. There are also a green house and community gardens in barn four. Finally Barn 5 was stripped of its roof and remains exposed to the elements. All that remain is the steel structure that forms the arcade.

Wychwood Barns is a great representation of early 20th century industrial architecture.  Lobko really wanted to express how an industrial building can be converted into a community centre. It is an exciting piece of architecture that shares many old connections and will create new ones.

[1] – Steiner, David. “ Making New Tracks.”  Canadian Architect  June 2010: 12-16. Print

[2] – Chodikoff, Ian. “Viewpoint.” Canadian Architect January 2008: 6. Print

[3] – McKinney, Cait “Artscape Wychwood Barns” Visible City. n.d. web. 30 Sept, 2010. <;

[4] – Berland, Jody, Bob Hanke. “Signs of a new Park.”  Public: Art/Culture/ Ideas 26 (2002): 72-99. Print.


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