Client: City of Surrey
Location: Surrey, BC
The challenge with this project was to develop a nature education centre to support outdoor learning in the Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey, BC. The project required a strong architectural identity that reflected the client’s goals of advancing nature education and the public’s understanding of sustainability. Only limited financial means were available and the project was required to be housed in an existing light industrial building.
The design resulted from a careful study of both the character of the existing building and the site masterplan developed by the landscape architect. The existing rooms were found to have good proportions and remain largely untouched. The exception to this was the addition of one large element per room - either a skylight or a window. These new apertures are strategically used to orient the main classrooms to the sky or an existing arboretum, each of which is celebrated by the masterplan. Additionally, seven full height windows were added to the exterior façade to enhance and celebrate the varied effects of daylight streaming through the trees, and a new well insulated building envelope substantially reduces the previous energy consumption of the building. Finally, the history of the site is integrated into the building wherever possible through the careful development of the daylighting design, interior finish patterns, and the thoughtful use of oak trees felled from the site for the construction of the reception desk.
Design Team: Local Practice (Architect), Space2Place Design Inc (Landscape Architects), Jones Kwon Kishi (Structural Engineering), Applied Engineering Solutions (Electrical Engineering), AME Group (Mechanical Engineering)
Project Completion: 2011