Sponsored content: Ontario Association of Architects Headquarters retrofit

Inline Fiberglass elevates envelope performance

Dubbed “Wings Over Don Mills” when it opened in 1992 for its Toronto neighbourhood location and for its uplifted winged roof framing, the three-storey, 21,400-square-foot Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Headquarters was deemed in need of a retrofit.

The goal was to refresh the interior and improve energy performance – in fact, to meet the 2030 Challenge which is intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new buildings, developments and major renovations. As a result of the retrofit, the OAA Headquarters has moved to electrical power and is targetting a remarkable 85% energy use reduction to an impressive 55 kwh/m2/year.

The envelope upgrade included additional insulation, curtainwall retrofits, and new fiberglass frame, triple-glazed windows by Inline Fiberglass. Fiberglass frames combine strength with very low levels of conductivity, and have the lowest embodied energy when compared to other common window frame materials. They also resist corrosion for long life expectancy. Our Series 3000 windows are Passive House International certified.

Inline’s products can be treated with specialized resins that have been tested and are in compliance with CAN/ULC S134 test protocol allowing them to be used in non-combustible applications when approved by building inspectors, as in the case of the OAA project.

According to David Fujiwara, the architect of the retrofit, “Fiberglass frames were considered for the OAA office windows because of their thermal effectiveness, ability to carry a triple-glazed unit, slim profile and strength. They met all the requirements of the building code and of the project.

The replacement windows needed to fit within the existing frame opening available, so removal of old thermally unbroken aluminum frame windows, site measuring and installation of the new frames for an airtight fit was an essential part of the work. Coordination was also needed with the electrochromic glazing supplier View Smart Glass. The final touch was the addition of 3M light redirecting film to the upper transom strip of window.”

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COURS BAYVIEW, Ottawa, ON

Hobin Architecture – Existing Building Upgrade Award

Jury: This conversion of a 1940s City Works Yard building into an Innovation Hub demonstrates how the careful and pragmatic adaptive reuse of an unprepossessing building can transform the dynamics of a neighbourhood, create a sense of place, and at the same time support social and  cultural continuity. The act of preservation conserves embodied energy in the existing structure and avoids that associated with a new building. The LEED Gold  certification is exemplary for an adaptive reuse project.

Also known as The Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, Cours Bayview Yards is Ottawa’s epicentre for entrepreneurial programs and services. The centre was developed within a 4,460 m² (48,000ft²) industrial building, originally constructed in the 1940s as a City Workshops facility, and now having historical importance as one of the few survivors of a once sprawling industrial area.

The project showcases the potential for the adaptive reuse of vacant industrial buildings and demonstrates that such adaptation can be done both affordably and sustainably. Aside from retaining more than 85% of the original structure, the project integrates a broad spectrum of design strategies that address issues of economic, social and ecological sustainability.

These include maximizing thermal performance through the use of premium insulation and fenestration, achieving an envelope performance twice that required by the MNECB; specification of high-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems, supplemented by a comprehensive building automation system that modulates equipment runtimes to varying building loads and not fixed schedules; embracing alternate modes of transportation and urban agriculture.

The Well, a multipurpose space for events, parties and exhibitions, is also accessible for casual use when not in use. Daikin supplied the Maverick roof-mounted air handler unit, and SmartSource water source heat pumps.

  • PROJECT PERFORMANCE
  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 78.3KWhr/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 47.2%
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 41.5%
  • Recycled material content by value = 9%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 30.47%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 76.4%
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  • PROJECT CREDITS
  • Owner/Developer  Invest Ottawa
  • Architect  Hobin Architecture
  • DESIGN/BUILDER  Morley Hoppner Limited
  • Civil Engineer   D. B. Gray Engineering Inc.
  • Electrical/Mechanical Engineer  Bouthillette Parizeau Inc.
  • Structural Engineer  Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited
  • Commissioning Agent  Arborus Consulting
  • Interiors  4Té Inc.
  • Heritage Architectural Planning  Commonwealth Historic
  • Resource Management
  • Photos  Steve Clifford (photos 1 and 3); Invest Ottawa (photo 6); MIV Photography (photos 2, 4, 5 and 7)

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REACH GUESTHOUSE, Prince Edward County, ON

Kearns Mancini Architects – Residential [Small] Award

Jury: A meticulous rehabilitation and upgrade project, that converts a 19th century four-bedroom farmhouse into a 2-bedroom guesthouse, with the original post and beam structure being enclosed in a new high-performance building envelope. The addition of a Passive House standard kitchen, dining and living area to the rear of the house integrates seamlessly with the original, being barely discernible as a new structure. An elegantly detailed project notable for its restraint.

Originally a four bedroom, one‐bathroom house, this 19th century farmhouse was renovated into a two bedroom, two-bathroom house incorporating Passive House EnerPHit standards. Conceptually, a new insulated, airtight structure was built over the existing post and beam house. The rear of the building was substantially rebuilt to accommodate a large, double height kitchen, dining and living space. The new front gable window was intentionally oversized, offering visitors a glimpse of the original arched front gable window within. In future, the house will serve as a guesthouse for a new great house on the same property. In the interim, it serves as a vacation property for visitors to Prince Edward County.

Originally a four bedroom, one-bathroom house, this 19th century farmhouse was renovated into a two bedroom, twobathroom house incorporating Passive House EnerPHit standards. Conceptually, a new insulated, airtight structure was built over the existing post and beam house. The rear of the building was substantially rebuilt to accommodate a large, double height kitchen, dining and living space. The new front gable window was intentionally oversized, offering visitors a glimpse of the original arched front gable window within. In future, the house will serve as a guesthouse for a new great house on the same property. In the interim, it serves as a vacation property for visitors to Prince Edward County.

The original post and beam building was exposed and meticulously cleaned and sealed inside an airtight envelope. Structural Insulated Panels were used as a new building envelope, providing a continuous R43 insulation value in the walls. New roof trusses were added to the existing structure, surmounting the existing roof and walls. This allowed for a 600mm cavity to be filled with new cellulose insulation, providing a continuous insulating value of R67. To achieve an airtight seal, all ground level floorboards were lifted, and an oriented strand board sub-floor installed before the floorboards were re-laid.

  • Project Performance
  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 181 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building = 85%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 11,813 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 40%
  • Recycled material content by value = 65%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 70%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 90%

The renovation and double-height construction at the rear maintains the proportions of the original home. Pre-finished wood siding by Maibec unifies old and new.

A new insulated, airtight structure of structural insulated panels was built over the existing house, and the original post and beam cleaned and left exposed. A Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada mini-split AC unit and heat pump provides efficient cooling and heating.

  • Project Credits
  • Owner/Developer  Spike Capital Corp.
  • Architect  Kearns Mancini Architects Inc.
  • General Contractor  Neil Thompson Contracting
  • Structural Engineer James Horne
  • Photos  Industryous Photography
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WEST BAY PASSIVE HOUSE, West Vancouver, BC

Battersby Howat Architects – Residential [Small] Award

Jury: A beautiful example of how the transparency, openness and site responsive character of traditional West coast Modern design can be integrated with the high-performance requirements of Passive House. The project is also notable for its prefabricated cross laminated timber structure. The project team also made a commendable effort to provide educational and other benefits for the community, creating a video series about the project and by donating demolition and surplus construction materials to Habitat for humanity.

Located on the West Vancouver waterfront, the West Bay Passive House achieves a rare fusion of beauty and efficiency in its pursuit of net zero energy performance. With a super-insulated, airtight envelope and highly efficient mechanical and electrical systems, the home achieved a Passive House Plus certification, an Energuide Rating confirming zero tonnes of Green House Gas emissions, and net-zero Giga-Joules of energy consumption when measured on an annual basis.

Other notable attributes of the house include the use of a Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) superstructure constructed on top of a concrete foundation, floor-to-ceiling glazing for uninterrupted ocean views, and a passive solar design achieved through a combination of built-in and environmental shading.

Located in one of Metro Vancouver’s luxury home markets, this project introduced a sustainability-conscious design ethos to the area by creating a home that was both architecturally pleasing and Passive House certified. Capturing the ocean view was critical to the success of the design so triple-glazed thermally-broken glazing systems were used to minimize heat loss and overhangs designed for passive shading. The superstructure was built with factory prefabricated CLT panels to provide a robust and durable building core that would also store carbon. 

By prefabricating the components, the construction schedule was reduced by two months with a significant reduction in waste.

The active mechanical system consists of an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) for ventilation and a heat pump hot water tank. The same small heat pump also feeds a heating and cooling coil on the ERV’s supply lines and is able to provide a comfortable indoor environment for all occupants.

  • Project Performance
  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 36KWhr/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under HOT 2000 V11 = 99.87%
  • Recycled material content by value = 10-20%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 84%

Schock Isokorb provides structural thermal breaks.

Balanced ventilation with energy recovery provides continuous filtered fresh air and ensures optimum indoor air quality. The active mechanical system consists of a Zehnder ComfoAir Q600 energy recovery ventilator (ERV) for ventilation and a Daikin heat pump.

Quad-Lock’s Airfoam insulated concrete form system used for the foundation provides high energy efficiency and higher safety ratings at a lower cost of ownership.

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  • Project Credits
  • Architect  Battersby Howat
  • General Contractor  Naikoon Contracting Ltd.
  • Landscape Architect  Battersby Howat
  • Mechanical Engineer  Integral Group
  • Structural Engineer  ASPECT Structural Engineers
  • Commissioning Agent  Econ Group (Passive House Consultants)
  • Photos  ISHOT
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NORTHERN LIGHTS COLLEGE TRADES TRAINING CENTRE, Dawson Creek, BC

McFarland Marceau Architects Ltd. – Institutional [Large] Award

Jury: A remarkable response to the challenging industrial workshop program and an equally challenging climate. The result is a refined, restrained and beautiful building, with a great sense of warmth emanating from the exposed wood finishes and the high levels of natural light. The requirement for large expanses of solid wall is cleverly used for the collection of solar heat. And, the overall performance metrics are impressive.

With a population of 13,000, Dawson Creek is located in the Peace River region of northern British Columbia, the western extremity of the Canadian Prairies. The city has become the regional centre for the province’s energy industry and home for BC’s ‘Energy College’. The recently completed Trades Training Centre is the third phase in a campus expansion plan that has previously included a Centre for Excellence in Clean Energy Technology (CECET) and a 26m-high cross laminated timber (CLT) training tower for the college’s wind turbine maintenance program.

Seeking LEED Gold certification, the Trades Training Centre subverts the sprawling pattern of adjacent rural development by framing positive public outdoor space and inverts the standard trades building typology in favour of one more suited to a multi-disciplinary, interactive approach to trades education.

The 5,600m2 Trades Training Centre provides workshops for the instruction of carpentry, welding, plumbing, millwright, and wind turbine technology, as well as student commons, classrooms, and offices. The building is located at the entrance to the campus, close to the phase 1 CECET building and linked to it by a colonnaded walkway.

These connected structures define three sides of an open courtyard that embraces visitors and forms a new and welcoming entrance plaza for the college. The colonnade has a continuous CLT rear wall and an exposed CLT roof supported on laminated veneer lumber columns. The colonnade continues into the trades building where it defines the edge of a student commons that looks out to the courtyard. The student commons is screened from adjacent classrooms with a playful curved partition of LVL posts.

Beyond the student commons, the workshops are positioned either side of a ‘shops commons’ and have overhead doors opening onto it. The shops commons is a new type of space for the trades program that provides flexible, interactive space for the workshops – and was also deemed essential to accommodate shipping and receiving functions in a climate where winter temperatures can dip well below -30°C.

The energy requirements of trades buildings in northern climates are extreme, due to the high ventilation demands of the shops. The building mitigates this by integrating architecture and structure with its lighting and mechanical systems. The heat is supplied by a biomass-fueled boiler that burns waste wood. To achieve optimal performance, the biomass boiler is oversized and was installed in advance to supply hydronic heat to two additional buildings as a campus energy system.

Student commons area looking out to new entry courtyard. Plumbing fixtures by SLOAN (from Dobbins sales) have helped to reduce water consumption by 50%. Brisco Manufacturing Ltd. suppled the mass timber post and beam structure, the roof system, and panels.

The energy requirements of trades buildings in northern climates are extreme, due to the high ventilation demands of the shops. The building mitigates this by integrating architecture and structure with its lighting and mechanical systems. Hydronic convectors by Jaga, hydronic fan coils by Daikin, and heat recovery coils by Scott Springfield Manufacturing Inc. in the exhaust of some of the air handling units, all supplied by Olympic International, help to provide efficient heating.

The inconspicuous MatrixAir® transpired solar collector along the south elevation pre-heats supply air which is admitted through intake vents located behind the metal cladding.

  • Project Credits
  • Owner/Developer  Sifton Properties Limited
  • Architect  Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.
  • General Contractor  D. Grant Construction Limited.
  • Landscape Architect  Ron Koudys Landscape Architects Inc.
  • Civil Engineer  Stantec
  • Electrical / Mechanical Engineer  Smith+ Andersen
  • Structural Engineer  Van Boxmeer Stranges
  • Sustainability  Footprint
  • PV Consultant  s2e Technologies
  • Photos  Lisa Logan
  • Project Performance
  • Energy intensity = 81KWhr/m²/year (Building 73KWhr/m²/year, Process 8KWhr/m²/year)
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 43%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 4,160litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building = 60%

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BATA SHOE FACTORY REVITALIZATION, Batawa, ON

Quadrangle (Architect of Record) and Dubbeldam Architecture + Design (Collaborating Design Architect) – Residential [Large] Award

Jury: This conversion of the original 1939 Bata Shoe Factory provides the small town of Batawa with an amenity uncommon in a community of this size: mixed income rental accommodation with recreational amenities for residents; a daycare and a community art space. The project is exemplary for its respectful adaptation of an important part of Ontario’s industrial heritage, its well-considered mixed-use program, and its rehabilitation of the former parking lot that surrounded the building. In addition to the carbon benefit of retaining the concrete structure, the project has very good energy performance.

The late Sonja Bata pursued her passion for architecture and the built environment through the revitalization of the town of Batawa, located 30km east of Belleville on the Trent river. As a sustainable community and satellite town adapted to 21st century living, where residents could live close to nature but maintain a connection to work through broadband, she envisioned Batawa as a model community for social and environmental sustainability.

The renovation to the Bata Shoe Factory is an ambitious adaptive re-use project located at the gateway to Batawa. Central to Mrs. Bata’s vision for Batawa was the conversion of the manufacturing facility built by her family’s shoe empire during WWII, into a modern mixed use residential, commercial and community building with a light environmental footprint and a social mandate.

With a focus on integrating the most sustainable approaches – the renovated building retains the original 1939 concrete structure; the HVAC systems are powered entirely through a geothermal energy source; and any new materials or systems are as sustainable as possible – the resulting renovated building is a model for increased housing density in a rural setting with the lightest impact on the environment and a focus on community and social sustainability.

Aside from not building at all, the lightest impact on the environment is accomplished through adaptive re-use strategies – retention and rehabilitation of existing buildings. With close to 80% of a building’s embodied carbon found in the structural components, retaining and highlighting the existing concrete structure of the building in combination with new sustainable materials and systems was one of the key strategic decisions for this adaptive re-use project.

  • Project Performance
  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 101KWhr/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1 2004 = 55.6%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 28,384litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 30%
  • Recycled material content by value = 28%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 21%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 40%
  • Project Credits
  • Owner/Developer  The Batawa Development Corporation
  • Collaborating Design Architect Quadrangle
  • Joint Venture Architect  Dubbeldam Architecture + Design
  • General Contractor  The Dalton Company Ltd.
  • Civil Engineer  Greer Galloway Group Inc. Engineers and Planners
  • Electrical/Mechanical Engineer  The HIDI Group
  • Structural Engineer  Jablonsky, Ast and Partners International
  • Commissioning Agent  HRCx
  • Photos  Scott Norsworthy

The daycare on the ground floor. Lochinvar by Aqua-Tech supplied two FBN1251 CREST® Condensing Boilers, two AWN1000PM ARMOR® Condensing Water Heaters, and two TVG504 Lock-Temp® Energy Saver Storage Tanks.

COVENANT HOUSE VANCOUVER, Vancouver, BC

NSDA Architects – Institutional [Small] Award

Jury: This project, which provides residential accommodation and a range of support services for youth at risk, balances its strong social agenda with a high level of environmental performance. On a tight urban infill site and an equally tight budget, the design nonetheless manages to achieve high levels of natural light throughout, as well as providing attractive communal spaces for its occupants and visitors. A low window to wall ratio and a high- performance envelope, underpin a durable, low maintenance solution that ensures maximum funds can be made available for youth programs.

Covenant House Vancouver (CHV) is the main provider of residential and outreach services for the city’s homeless and at-risk youth. CHV’s core programs include: Street Outreach, which engages with at-risk youth on the street and provides food,  counselling, and medical attention as well as referring youth to other programs; the Drop-In Program, which  provides both immediate and longer term support services; the Crisis Program, which provides shelter and support services; and Rights of Passage, which provides longer term housing, support, and life skills training to youth while they transition away from life on the street.

This new building provides CHV with the opportunity to expand its existing services, including an enlarged drop-in program (support, meals, laundry, showers), a short-stay sanctuary program for youth in crisis, staff areas associated with the youth programs, administrative areas and much needed recreational opportunities. The site is located on the southern edge of the Downtown core, across the street from the original CHV building. This provides continuity of presence for youth to connect with the staff and programs.

In addition to a commitment to social sustainability, Covenant House Vancouver achieves a significant level of environmental sustainability. Environmental design strategies include: optimized exterior wall assemblies; low window-to-wall ratio; high level of daylighting throughout the building; energy recovery ventilation; reduced lighting power density and a reduction in domestic water consumption.

More specifically, the building has a compact, simple form to reduce the area of exterior surfaces, and employs a high-performance building envelope with thermal breaks and continuous high insulation values. Heat recovery ventilators (HRV) deliver ventilation air throughout the building. A dedicated HRV serves the Level 5 offices and a separate central HRV serves the rest of the building. The HRV cores significantly reduces the annual ventilation heating load and overall energy use.

  • Project Performance
  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 117.3KWhr/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under ASHRAE 90.1  2007 = 32%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 7,462 litres/occupant/year (base building)
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 44%
  • Recycled material content by value = 20.7%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 31.5%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 84.8%

The residential suites comply with ASHRAE Standard 55, Thermal Comfort Conditions for Human Occupancy. SLOAN electronic faucets and ELKAY water stations (both from Dobbins Sales) have helped to reduce water consumption by 44%.

Durable, maintainable building components were selected under a Building Durability Plan informed by CSA Standard S4788-95, and interior materials, such as resilient flooring in the form of rubber base, rubber tile, stair stringers, transition strips and Centiva Heritage Plank supplied by Tarkett, have minimal VOC content. The cooling system and fan coils use Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology from Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada.

  • Project Credits
  • Owner/Developer  Covenant House Vancouver
  • Development Consultant  CitySpace Consulting Ltd.
  • Architect  NSDA Architects
  • General Contractor  VanMar Constructors
  • Landscape Architect  Durante Kreuk
  • Civil Engineer  RF Binnie and Associates Ltd.
  • Electrical and Mechanical Engineer  Integral Group
  • Structural Engineer  Fast + Epp
  • Commissioning Agent  CES Engineering Ltd.
  • Building Code  LMDG Building Code Consulting Ltd.
  • Building Envelope  exp Services Inc.
  • Sustainability  Blue Camas Consulting Ltd.
  • Photos  Latreille Photography Ltd.

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CHARTER TELECOM HEADQUARTERS, Victoria, BC

Waymark Architecture – Commercial/Industrial [Small] Award

Jury: An unusual solution born from the creative response to site constraints, and a practical approach to a Passive House project that was a first-time challenge for all concerned. Covered at-grade parking has the potential to be used for future expansion of the building, or enhanced green space. The wall assembly and construction sequence were carefully considered so that the project could be competitively bid to local contractors. Exposed mass timber makes for an inviting interior.

This three-storey office building, located in Greater Victoria, aims to be the first commercial office in North America to achieve Passive House Certification. It is also ambitious in its use of locally-sourced engineered mass timber. Most importantly, this project has demonstrated that the Passive House standard can provide value to private commercial building owners without incentives or subsidies. The primary motivation for the owner was not sustainability, but rather that of creating a quality working environment for staff. Also, he realized that investing up-front could achieve lower operating, maintenance and life cycle costs.

This three-storey office building, located in Greater Victoria, aims to be the first commercial office in North America to achieve Passive House Certification. It is also ambitious in its use of locally-sourced engineered mass timber.

Most importantly, this project has demonstrated that the Passive House standard can provide value to private commercial building owners without incentives or subsidies. The primary motivation for the owner was not sustainability, but rather that of creating a quality working environment for staff. Also, he realized that investing up-front could achieve lower operating, maintenance and life cycle costs

Overall, the typology and scale of this project sets it apart from other Passive House projects in the region, encouraging the expansion of this approach beyond the residential sector. The project demonstrates that massive improvement in energy performance is achievable in a commercial office building, even on a challenging site, with builders who lacked experience in high performance buildings.

  • Project Performance
  • Heating Demand  11 kWh/m²a
  • Cooling and dehumidification Demand  11 kWh/a
  • Primary Energy  117 kWh/a
  • Primary Energy Renewable (PER)  52 kWh/m2a
  • Air leakage  0.6 ACH50 (Design)

Excluding the ground floor, elevator and exit stairs from the Passive House envelope  reduced the heated floor area, improved the form factor, and avoided thermal bridging and air tightness challenges. Zehnder supplied its ComfoAir 350 HRV.

  • Project Credits
  • Owner/Developer  Charter Telecom
  • Architect  Waymark Architecture
  • General Contractor  Road’s End Contracting
  • Landscape Architect  Small & Rossell Landscape Architect
  • Civil Engineer  Westbrook Consulting
  • Mech./Elec. Engineer  Integral Group Consulting
  • Structural Engineer  Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Energy Modelling  Bernhardt Contracting Ltd.
  • Photos  Leanna Rathkelly

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ROB AND CHERYL MCEWEN GRADUATE STUDY AND RESEARCH BUILDING Schulich School of Business, York University, ON

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects – Institutional [Large] Award

Jury: Post-secondary institutions continue to lead the way in the implementation of advanced sustainable design practice. This academic research and classroom building, incorporates climate-adapted design and advanced technology, while also supporting occupant wellbeing and forging a strong connection to the surrounding campus. The solar chimney and the twist in plan to optimize building orientation were notable features of the design.

The 5,575m² Graduate Study and Research Building for the Schulich School of Business is an academic building designed to promote progressive pedagogy and research. Its section and plan are arranged around an atrium that organizes access to a cafe, three large flat-floor classrooms and four seminar rooms, which are clustered with associated breakout rooms to allow various teaching and peer-to-peer learning formats.

On the second and third floor, reconfigurable research laboratories are clustered with offices and two conference / seminar rooms to accommodate changing research needs. Lounges, meeting and support rooms provide complementary facilities for structured work and informal congeniality.

The building was conceived as a space that would support the school’s distinct pedagogy. The atrium acts as a place for spontaneous meeting and programmed events. The atrium is also an air distribution collector for the building’s hybrid natural-and-active ventilation system. The building’s dynamic, climate-responsive design manifests the commitment of the Schulich School of Business to sustainability. Its 28m high solar chimney tower creates a tangible new campus landmark. The solar chimney is an exemplar of architectural and engineering integration, unprecedented in Canadian university architecture.

The atrium and narrow opening above to the solar chimney. Local company, Tappatec Inc., supplied durable ege brand carpet tile.

Curtain wall and Inline Fibreglass windows with triple-glazed insulated glass and building automation system controlled operable vents.

  • Project Credits
  • Owner/Developer  York University
  • Architect  Baird Sampson Neuert Architects
  • General Contractor  Ellis Don Construction
  • Landscape Architect  PLANT Architect Inc.
  • Civil Engineer  R.V. Anderson Associates Limited
  • Electrical/ Mechanical Engineer  Crosssey Engineering Ltd.
  • Structural Engineer  Blackwell Structural Engineers
  • Commissioning Agent JLL
  • Climate Consultants  Transsolar
  • Code Consultant  Leber Rubes Inc.
  • Building Envelope Consultants  RDH Building Science Inc.
  • Acoustical Consultants  Swallow Acoustic Consultants
  • Cost Consultants  Vermeulens Cost Consultants
  • Elevator Consultant  KJA Consultants Inc.
  • Photo  Tom Arban
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  • Project Performance
  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 89.1 KWhr/m2/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 74%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 2,170 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 47%
  • Recycled material content by value = 20%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 39%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 88%

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Aurora Coast Cannabis Innovation Centre

Well being, energy and water conservation top the list at research station

By Heidi Nesbitt

Aurora Coast is a new cannabis research centre located in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. This unique facility provides a supportive and nurturing workplace for Aurora’s scientists to expand their genetics and breeding research, with the goal of realizing the full human benefit of the cannabis plant. 

Context 

The project aims to transform public perception of a previously illegal, underground industry, by housing it in a facility that fosters creativity and innovation. The first phase of the project consists of a mass timber building containing offices, labs, meeting rooms and support spaces for the adjacent greenhouse. A transparent network of collaborative workplace hubs was designed to encourage informal interaction and enhance the creative potential of the research team. 

As a project centred around plant health and vitality, every aspect of the building and site is designed to connect occupants to nature and to support health and well-being: an exposed, mass-timber structure was chosen for its low environmental footprint, and to provide a biophilic backdrop to what might otherwise have been a sterile laboratory environment; clerestorey windows bring natural daylight deep within the high-security, restricted-access areas; and views are provided to the restored pollinator habitat and orchard that surrounds the building. 

Cannabis facilities face unique challenges, including security, odour control and public stigma. To help gain the support of the local community, a large, environmentally degraded, industrial site at a prominent intersection was rejuvenated by providing extensive, on-site stormwater management, and by restoring the ecological integrity of several hectares of land. The larger environmental challenge was to provide cannabis plants with the steady warmth, light and water they need to thrive without creating additional strain on local resources. 

Heidi Nesbitt, Architect AIBC CP MRAIC LEED AP  ENV SP, is an associate with Local Practice architecture + Design in Vancouver.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer  Aurora Cannabis
  • Architect  Local Practice Architecture + Design
  • Interiors  Albright Design
  • General Contractor  Heatherbrae Builders
  • Landscape Architect  Lanarc
  • Civil Engineer  McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.
  • Electrical/Mechanical/Structural Engineers  Associated Engineering (B.C.) Ltd.
  • Envelope Consultant RDH
  • Passive House Consultant  Tandem Architecture Écologique
  • Greenhouse Consultant  ALPS

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building) = 162 KWhr/m²/year
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 8135 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building = 5 %
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