The USD 6 million North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre (ELC) has now been completed. As phase one of a USD 20 million redevelopment project for the North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS) the building was officially opened on June 20, 2012. The ELC creates an experiential environment that blends natural, human and building ecologies – acting as an educational tool and demonstration facility, integral to the educational programming of the school.
One treehouse closer to eco-excellence
The innovative facility designed by McFarland Marceau Architects models the values of environmental stewardship while responding to the sensitive ecology of the site. The project’s “treehouse” concept elevates the structure high off the flood plain, raising students and visitors up into the forest canopy.
The new North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS) Environmental Learning Centre’s dependence on outside sources of energy and its impact on the environment are minimized to uphold the philosophical principles of the school which aims for an LEED Platinum rating. “Throughout the world, environmental education is now understood as a vital necessity in raising generations of citizens who not only appreciate nature but can contribute solutions to the pressing sustainability challenges of our time,” said John Lewis, North Vancouver School District superintendent at the official groundbreaking ceremony in April 2011.
Responsive to site and program
In direct response to the linearity of the valley and river, the building assumes a narrow linear form, raised above the forest floor on pilotis, whose underside inscribes the line of the 200-year-old-floodplain. The building was recipient of a Merit Award at the 2012 Canadian Architect Awards of Excellence.
Damaged by frequent, serious flooding, an environmental learning center that has fallen into disrepair over the years will be rebuilt. The Minimal-impact North Vancouver Outdoor School is completely self-reliant and CO2-neutral. Elevated on a structural platform offering spectacular views and access to nature, the building’s placement also offers protection against future flood concerns.See more
The comprehensive planning of a minimal-impact North Vancouver Outdoor School by local firm Larry McFarland Architects was recognized with an Acknowledgement prize for its performance in terms of zero net energy and carbon emissions performance. The center uses elevated buildings to avoid potential damage from flooding and take advantage of the views of the beautiful surrounding landscape.Top sustainable construction projects in North America honored »
This project was commended due to its comprehensive planning approach for rebuilding an environmental learning center which has been degraded over the years and damaged by frequent, serious ﬂooding. The responsible entities took advantage of this need for complete reconstruction and developed an overall master plan that assures a maximum preservation of the surrounding natural ecological reserve land and also demonstrates state-of-the-art in sustainable construction.
As a result, the new school and exhibition buildings will be completely self-reliant and fulﬁll net zero energy and net zero CO2 requirements. The elevated buildings offer free view and access to the beautiful nature in the neighborhood and avoid potential future damage from ﬂooding. In addition, the building components and systems will become part of the learning experience and therefore fundamentally change the educational concept.See more
Damaged by frequent, serious flooding, an environmental learning center that has fallen into disrepair over the years will be rebuilt. The Minimalimpact North Vancouver Outdoor School is completely self-reliant and CO2-neutral. Elevated on a structural platform offering spectacular views and access to nature, the building’s placement also offers protection against future flood concerns.Download project entry poster (PDF, 2.98 MB) »
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