Canadian collective work with Paul Raff Studio to create Centre for Sustainability
A group of government and non-profit organisations as well as local and community representatives with similar missions and interests are working together to create a Centre for Sustainability in Canada.
The abandoned Camcar Textron factory in the old Lowertown district of Gananoque was brought to the table as an early potential site, and the Committee immediately felt that the 11,508 sq m brownfield site had great potential as an adaptive re-use development for the Biosphere Sustainability Centre. With its close proximity to the Gananoque Boat Line, which annually attracts 200,000-400,000 visitors to the Thousand Islands, as well a good geographical location to act as a ‘hub' and ‘springboard' for the rest of the region, the Lowertown site was selected.
The Biosphere Sustainability Centre includes exhibition and conference facilities, artisan studios, market retail, and office space. The building's programming is integral to its design, which demonstrates to the public how renewable energy technologies, including earth, water, solar, wind, and biomass, can provide clean heating, cooling, electricity and waste management. Furthermore, the centre will serve as an education resource with a positive long-term impact on planning, living, and working in the region, which is part of a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Centre design includes two green roofs with walk-out gardens, a walk-through ‘living wall' that cleans and recycles the air, and sculptural sun shades alongside the building. The building and site are designed to interconnect with the waterfront and surrounding neighbourhood. The Centre also features an ‘Atmospheric Canopy' that hovers above the building and performs multiple functions: it collects sunlight from solar panels, provides shade, reflects the surrounding landscape, and channels rainwater for collection at the corner of the building, where, in the winter months, it transforms into a spectacular icicle sculpture.