ROB AND CHERYL MCEWEN GRADUATE STUDY & RESEARCH BUILDING

Solar chimney marks addition to Schulich School of Business, York University

Architecture and engineering are seamlessly integrated in the Rob and Cheryl McEwen graduate 6,166m²  academic research and classroom building to create a unique, climate responsive, hybrid environmental design  that promotes occupant wellbeing, while reducing energy use intensity to a level significantly below the model national reference standard.

By Barry Sampson

Environmental design strategies include:

  • Optimized building orientation and façade design for effective shading and solar harvesting;
  • A high-performance envelope with window-to-wall ratio carefully calibrated for effective daylighting and maximized insulation;
  • High-efficiency mechanical systems including activated concrete with radiant heating and cooling, high output metal cooling acoustic baffles and dedicated outside air displacement system.
  • A hybrid active/passive bioclimatic system featuring a climate responsive solar chimney that uses stack effect to drive effective building-wide natural ventilation, and contributes to passive pre-heating of the fresh air supply.
  • The project is targeting LEED Gold certification and is also equipped with the energy infrastructure required to achieve net zero energy in the future, pending the addition of onsite photovoltaic panels and geothermal boreholes. Together, the bustling atrium and the landmark solar chimney are physical manifestations of the school’s dual goals: to break down the physical and social barriers to creative thinking, while simultaneously putting into action the School’s commitment to sustainable design.

The unique form and architectural identity of the McEwen Building results from the synthesis of climate- adapted passive system design, program planning, and urban design responses to challenging site constrains.

Folded surfaces are used to transform the building footprint from alignment with the south-east orientation of the campus to optimal solar orientation of the building’s south facade for effective shading and solar energy harvesting, in particular optimizing the solar preheat mode of the solar chimney.  South- and west-facing glazing with Inline Fiberglass windows is shaded in summer by solar awnings and louvered shading devices.

The south-facing wind-sheltered courtyard creates an extension of the building’s social terrain and expands the existing system of interconnected courtyards of the original Schulich complex.

With interior social activities of the atrium visible through the exterior glazed wall and the chimney illuminated above as a landmark at night, these two strategic elements emphasize the social and environmental roles of the building to the campus at large.  Access by public transit is straightforward, facilitating the hosting of a variety of events and conferences. With York University subway station just a three-minute walk away, there was no requirement for additional on-site parking; instead, numerous bike parking rings were installed near the building entrances.

The 28-metre tall solar chimney, situated on top of the central atrium, drives the multi modal hybrid active/passive ventilation and environmental control system. The building automation system monitors the rooftop weather station and controls the switching between three ventilation modes: passive hybrid natural ventilation mode in shoulder seasons, active preheat mode in winter, and active cooling mode in summer.

In active modes, during the summer and winter when windows must be closed to save energy and control humidity, the building uses a Dedicated Outside Air System (programmed to save energy by meeting ventilation requirements only, rather than heating or cooling which are provided by the Klimatrol [Klimatrol (Rehau)- (905) 454-1742 and Artech (Lindner) (905) 454-1742] radiant system), and low-speed displacement ventilation. This delivers a building-wide 1.8 air changes per hour (ACH); however, this is a rare maximum supply since occupancy sensors ensure that ventilation air is delivered only where required.

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.
  • Photos  Steven Evans Photography & Cindy Nguyen

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) = 89.1 KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB = 74,2%
  • 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 = 20.1%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 39,2%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 88.5%
  •  
  • SUBSCRIBE TO THE DIGITAL OR PRINT ISSUE OF SABMAGAZINE FOR THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE.

UBC AQUATIC CENTRE

Advanced sustainable design strategies improve performance in this challenging building type

Completed In 2017, this 8000m² hybrid competition and community aquatic facility replaces an aging indoor and outdoor pool complex, no longer capable of meeting the University of British Columbia’s changing needs. The challenge was to create a facility that would balance the high-performance training requirements of the university successful competitive swim program, with the increased demand for lessons and leisure opportunities from the rapidly expanding residential communities on campus.

By Jim Taggart

The Aquatic Centre is divided north south into four linear program ‘bars’ – lobby and change rooms, community aquatics, competition aquatics, and bleachers. Daylight is used to differentiate between the two aquatic halls. A line of Y-shaped columns supports a continuous six-metre wide skylight that bisects the aquatic hall, delineating competition and leisure areas. A translucent screen creates a luminescent barrier between the two principal spaces, making it possible to control the uses, and have two different activities or events taking place simultaneously.

The architectural composition consists of three distinct elements: a tessellated standing seam metal roof that hovers over an inclined black concrete base, and is separated from it by a continuous ribbon of fritted glazing. The roof rises and falls according to the functional requirements of the spaces below, its slopes and projections providing rain protection, solar shading, and control of daylight penetration as required. The building has become an integral part of the university’s new student hub, adjacent to the bus loop and a few steps from the new student union building.

As a building type, aquatic centres present some major challenges from the sustainability perspective, including water conservation, air quality, energy optimization, light control and acoustic performance.

Water Conservation

Of these, water conservation is the most significant, standard practice being that pools are emptied and the water discarded every time the pool requires maintenance. For the project team, not only did this seem an outdated practice from an environmental point of view, it also seemed incompatible with UBC’s reputation as a leading proponent of sustainable design.

In fact, water conservation has been an important consideration for the UBC Properties Trust for two decades, with new buildings now required to reduce water consumption by 30% relative to the reference standard. This is part of an overall requirement that all new projects are built to LEED Gold standard.

With the university currently conducting research on regenerative neighbourhoods, the project team began looking for ways in which the building could contribute positively to the infrastructure requirements of the community as a whole.

The answer was to create an underground cistern that could not only collect all the pool water during maintenance, but also supply the fire department should the need arise, or accommodate storm surge water for the north campus precinct, so relieving pressure on the existing storm sewer system.

The cistern, which has a capacity of 900,000 litres, is divided into three compartments according to the amount of filtration required prior to reuse. Another of its functions is to collect rainwater from the roof and the adjacent transit plaza, reusing it for toilet flushing, irrigation and poll top up.

  • PROJECT CREDITS
  • Client  UBC Properties Trust
  • Architects   MJMA & Acton Ostry Architects
  • Photos  Shai Gil; Ema Peter

SUBSCRIBE TO THE DIGITAL OR PRINT ISSUE OF SABMAGAZINE FOR THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE.

 

Building Blocks on Balmoral at Great West Life – Winnipeg, MB

Institutional [Small] Award | Prairie Architects Inc.

Jury comments: This project comprehensively and creatively addresses multiple aspects of sustainability simultaneously. The adaptive re-use of a heritage house as the centrepiece of a new and much needed daycare facility not only achieves LEED Platinum environmental performance, but also acts as a powerful catalyst in the revitalization of the fabric of Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood through the addition of this community amenity.

Building Blocks on Balmoral at Great-West Life comprises  the adaptive re-use of the 110-year old Grade II listed Milner House and two new structures, which together provide 100 licensed childcare spots to Great-West Life employees and the West Broadway community.

In addition to upgrading and extending the useful life of a heritage structure, the new facility has achieved LEED Platinum certification with the integration of sustainable features that include: a geothermal ground source heat-pump with in-floor radiant heating and chilled beams for cooling; displacement ventilation that requires lower fan power than ducted systems; significant use of salvaged, refurbished and re-used materials; substantial water use reduction (a particular priority in the Prairies); abundant daylight and views and use of low-emitting materials.

In order to create a sense of “home” for children, the facility was deliberately divided into two smaller additions on either side of the existing Milner House: one for toddlers and infants and one for preschool aged children. Each addition has direct connection to accessible exterior play yards, designed with naturalized landscapes and an age-appropriate focus.

The need to replace the deteriorating foundation of the Milner House provided an opportunity to make the ground floor of the facility fully accessible.

In order to keep the entire main floor on one level without introducing ramps and stairs, the original structure was lowered approximately 610mm onto a new foundation, and the north end of the site was built up 1,220mm to provide an accessible outdoor play area  for the children.

This also enabled the implementation of two site planning moves that facilitate on-site stormwater management: the elimination of an impervious lane connecting Balmoral Street to the Great- West Life parking lot; and the creation of a retention area for stormwater run-off at the north end of the site.

With a particular concern for indoor environmental quality, the project has been designed with 100% fresh air displacement ventilation. The system, which introduces low velocity fresh air at low level, was selected not only because of the significant energy savings it offered, but also because it was the most effective way to deliver fresh air close to the floor in spaces occupied by small children and crawling infants.

PROJECT CREDITS

  • Owner/Developer:  Great West Life Assurance Company
  • Architect:  Prairie Architects Inc.
  • General Contractor:  Manshield Construction
  • Landscape Architect:  Nadi Design & Development Inc.
  • Civil Engineer:  WSP
  • Electrical/ Mechanical Engineer:  KGS Group 
  • Structural Engineer:  Wolfrom Engineering Ltd.
  • Commissioning Agent:  Pinchin
  • Energy Modelling:  Stantec
  • Photos: Lindsay Reid

PROJECT PERFORMANCE

  • Energy intensity (building and process energy) =  145.5KWhr/m²/year
  • Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building under MNECB 1997 = 56%
  • Water consumption from municipal sources = 2,993 litres/occupant/year
  • Reduction in water consumption relative to reference building under LEED = 50%
  • Recycled material content by value = 14%
  • Regional materials (800km radius) by value = 36%
  • Construction waste diverted from landfill = 89.5%
  • The chilled beam around the perimeter. Daikin contributed fan coils and its Enfinity water-source heat pumps to the HVAC system. Each of the four new buildings use an Uponor manifold and in-floor radiant system to provide  even heating across the floors. 
  • The project uses an ERV system by Winnipeg-based Tempeff North America. The Dual-Core technology recovers both heat and humidity in winter allowing for continuous fresh air supply and a frost-free operation in extremely cold conditions. This ERV simplifies system design and does not require preheat or any form of defrost strategy.
  • East-facing childcare space where large windows admit natural light. DUXTON Windows & Doors supplied the fiberglass fenestration, in FiberWall™ Series 328 and 458, high performance triple glazing. The windows came complete with a 350 Panning exterior extension, providing a seamless, prefinished flashing detail for easy installation.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE DIGITAL OR PRINT ISSUE OF SABMAGAZINE FOR THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE.

Resilience planning for communities to thrive in an unpredictable and changing world

Across Canada, we are witnessing tremendous change, not only in our climate, but also in the urbanization of our cities. As our cities grow, we are experiencing greater pressures on our housing stock and community-wide infrastructure. In an often unpredictable and changing world, resilient design and planning is needed for our cities and communities to endure and thrive in both the short and long-term.

By: Kathy Wardle and Viren Kallianpur

While we must be aware of potential short and long-term shocks and threats facing our communities, as design professionals we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to implement solutions that offer hope to Canadians. This article offers a perspective on resilient design: the guiding principles, best practices, and tools that are available to practitioners today.

There is both commonality and differences in the various Canadian cities in terms of their stressors and threats. With four out of five people in Canada living in cities, the resulting higher density and population in urban areas mean that cities are both agents for climate impacts and solutions.

Growing population through migration and immigration, the rising demand for transportation, and the growing need for infrastructure to provide safety, comfort, and security all combine to create different pressures on our cities.

The global nature of the world we live in also means that stressors and threats faced by other nations have either a direct or an indirect impact on our cities. While global in nature, these impacts need to be resolved at the local level through political will, technical expertise, and individual commitment and responsibility. The effort to find solutions to these issues or problems lie in a more collaborative and collective approach through leadership, community engagement, and collective action.

While climate change is one of the most important drivers for discussions regarding resilience, the conversations should not be limited to climate change; resilience needs to be looked through social, economic, and environmental lenses to identify risks—natural and manmade, acute and chronic—and respond through design and operations planning. Resilience needs to be addressed at multiple levels from a single building, to a district, city and regional level. Policies, strategies, and initiatives at each scale influence the resilience and performance at other scales.

Kathy Wardle, LEED BD+C RELi AP, is Associate Principal, Director of Sustainability, and Viren Kallianpur, AICP, LEED AP BD+C, RELi AP, is Associate, Urban Design Practice, both of Perkins+Will in Vancouver.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE DIGITAL OR PRINT ISSUE OF SABMAGAZINE FOR THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE.