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high performance building

Farnham Garrison Kitchen and Dining Hall

Thoughtful design raises user comfort and well-being

The new 2,075 m² single storey building houses kitchen and dining facilities for the Department of National Defence at the Farnham Garrison in Farnham, Quebec. The dining hall is designed to accommodate 300 seats, and the kitchen has a capacity of 600 meals [two services] per hour. To facilitate wayfinding, functional spaces are differentiated by material, shape and/or colour. Practically all spaces feature natural daylight and direct views to the outside.

By Marc Bertrand

Materials are all robust and durable, providing a building designed for a minimum 40-year life. Although simple and straightforward, the design creates a very pleasant dining space with generous glazing and a sculptural ceiling of parallel strand lumber [PSL] trusses.

The building’s shape and orientation were largely determined by the functional need for free-flowing circulation and the desire to maximize daylight.

The layout consists of two adjacent loops of circulation: one of food and the other of people. The two loops meet in the servery, where prepared meals are picked up by diners before they head to the seating area.

On the service side of the building, food flows from west to east from the service entrance to the cold rooms and storage areas and then to the preparation and service area. Food waste from the preparation and dishwashing areas is collected via underfloor piping and sent to a pulper in a designated cold room, where solid organic waste is separated and later collected for recycling. Meanwhile, clients circulate in a closed loop on the public side from the main entrance to the service area and into the mess hall, and back towards the exit.

While the flow of circulation has determined the overall layout, daylighting access and control have generated the building’s main architectural features. The northwest service façade, which faces dominant winds and the low-setting summer sun, is generally opaque.

Recessed glazing in the northeast and southwest façades provide light into the offices, kitchen and service areas, and large expanses of curtain wall on the southeast and northeast allow morning light to flood the dining hall.
Roof overhangs, careful selection of glazing types and trees planted along the southeast facade limit glare and solar gain, while maximizing views and natural light in the entrance hall and dining area.

Large window bays in recessed portions of the northeast and southwest facades, as well as north-facing clerestorey windows, bring generous amounts of indirect light into the food preparation and service areas. In the washrooms, high strip windows with light shelves demonstrate a simple and efficient way of spreading natural light deep into a building.
Air quality is maintained with CO2 sensors, negative air pressure [for the evacuation of air pollutants], and by the careful selection of formaldehyde-free adhesives, low-VOC paints, sealants, composite wood panels, waterproofing and flooring products.


  • CLIENT Department of National Defence
  • ARCHITECT FABRIQ + A2000, architects in joint venture
  • CIVIL ENGINEER Groupe Forces
  • LEED CONSULTANT Lyse Tremblay ecoArchitecture inc.
  • PROJECT MANAGER Defense Construction Canada
  • GENERAL CONTRACTOR Construction Bugère
  • PHOTOS Marc Cramer

– Steel, concrete, parallel strand lumber [PSL] trusses, curtain walls with insulated glazing.
Roxul Plus and Roxul AFB insulation, and Foamular foam insulation by Owens Corning .
– Cladding is brick, metal and torrefied yellow poplar.
– Reflective roof membrane.
– Formaldehyde-free adhesives, low-VOC paints, sealants, composite wood panels, waterproofing. Flooring is Marmoleum by Forbo , and polished and sealed concrete.
– Thermal heat pumps, coupled to a water loop, recover waste heat from the cold room compressors which is used to heat the building.

– Energy intensity [building and process energy] = 565MJ/m2/year
– Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 25%
– Annual electrical energy consumption = 220kWh/m2  [Note: 11.8% of annual energy requirement comes from renewable sources]
– Potable water consumption from municipal sources = 365L/m2/year [Note: given transient nature of use, consumption in L/occupant would not provide a meaningful figure]

– Water reduction = 42.5%.
– Energy Savings [compared to MNECB] = 49.2%
– Waste diverted from landfill = 85.9%
– Recycled materials = 31.8%
– Regional materials = 52.9%

Marc Bertrand, OAQ, MRAIC, is Project Manager for FABRIQ architecture.