Commercial/Industrial [Small] Award
Jury comments: The fact the community was actively engaged in this project speaks to the often overlooked issue of social and cultural sustainability. As such, it provides a reminder that successful community architecture is as much about process as it is about the final product. The energy performance and the creative use of salvaged materials were particularly impressive.
In April 2016 the Ecology Action Centre [EAC] opened its revamped headquarters to its 40+ employees, 4,500 members, countless volunteers, and the public at large. Designed and constructed through a three-year community engagement process, this 480m2 building is a showcase for environmentally-sensitive renovation and densification in a tight urban setting.
Located in Halifax’s North End, the project embodies the EAC’s values and goals, including exemplary energy performance and the creative use of salvaged and natural materials. Most importantly it is a welcoming and inspiring space for community and staff to connect, learn, and work together.
The project demonstrates a commitment to increasing public and industry buy-in for sustainable redevelopment. Through the educational efforts of the owners and extensive community involvement, the project shows what can be achieved, even on a tight budget. The result is a fully renovated three-storey, century-old building that uses 50% less energy than the original two-storey structure, even though the floor area was increased by 50%.
The EAC wanted to reinforce its connection with the community and, by lowering the western half of the main floor to sidewalk level, created a new accessible, 4-metre high community gallery and meeting space. Large windows reveal the activities within, and give the EAC an inviting street presence.
Energy intensity [building and process energy] = 31.7kWh/m²/year
Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB 2011 = 63%
Potable water consumption from municipal sources = 3,150 L/occupant/year
Reduction in potable water consumption relative to reference building = 33%
Owner/Developer Ecology Action Centre
Architect Solterre Design
Civil/Structural Engineer Sherwood Enterprise
Mechanical Engineer Equilibrium Engineering
General Contractor Tekton Design Build
Photos Courtesy of Acorn Art Photography, EAC, and Solterre Design