This project has an explicit function as a border control station on the US frontier to Canada, thus needing to meet a range of stringent regulations for safety, operation and durability and yet provide a welcoming appearance to visitors. Efficiency demands an enhanced capacity for visual surveillance to enable as few as two officers to operate the station. Harsh weather conditions during winter require a strong canopy roof to provide shelter for exterior control operations. Beyond the fulfillment of the technical requirements the project pursues a well-designed reconciliation with the landscape and regional cultural context, echoing the plot structure and verticality of the forests to develop the shape and aesthetically integrate the building.
The remote location of the site, combined with an unusually large energy demand is met with a net zero energy goal and a water saving concept, based on features such as a ground source heating and cooling, a solar wall to temper outside ventilation air, a ground-coupled heat pump, peaking bio-diesel boilers, LED lights, and lighting control systems to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Materials are selected for durability, appropriateness, recycled content and regional production. The palette is minimized for design continuity and efficiency in purchasing. Low-VOC, formaldehyde-free, non-allergenic products resistant to mold, mildew and fungi are selected. The exterior envelope consists of recycled aluminum, precast concrete and coated low-e insulated glass.
Comment of the Holcim Awards jury North America
The jury commended the project for the adroit synthesis of design and technology, successfully applying state-of-the-art features of sustainability in a government project with its regulatory implications. The design is dignified, simple and elegant. Instead of a “noisy” appearance it is well integrated into the context and creates the maximum spatial quality out of the rather simple program of the border station.