The library and classroom building performs 70% better than the model National Energy Code of Canada – making the most of renewable resources (wind, rain, and geothermal temperatures) and transforming these resources into uniquely exceptional spaces.
A campus to showcase sustainability
The Library and Classroom Building at Langara College in Vancouver was completed in July 2007 and is LEED-Gold certified. The College and design team shared a common goal: to create a sustainable campus that demonstrates environmental responsibility and stewardship for the student body and the community. LEED-Gold was achieved through a combination of factors including greening of the site, low flow bathroom fixtures, reflective and green roofs, rainwater harvesting, incorporation of fly-ash in concrete, and regional as well as low-emitting materials and furnishings.
The form of the building is generated from the environmental forces acting on it:
The annual energy consumption of the system is 24.5kWh/m2 – more than 70% better than the model National Energy Code. This energy performance is achieved through the use of natural/wind driven ventilation, geothermal energy sources, and the control of solar radiation through energy efficient glazing.
The annual electrical energy consumption for the building is 262MJ/m2. This is attributed to the electrically powered geothermal system. Natural gas usage is 38MJ/m2, which represents a savings of 94%. The drastic reduction in natural gas is particularly significant in British Columbia, where hydro-electricity is the primary energy source. Since the building is naturally heated and cooled, there is no need to rely on external energy sources to assure a high quality of air and light within the spaces.
This project exemplifies a cultural shift, one that no longer sees the world as a vast resource, but as a finite reserve, which is slowly disappearing. The building responds to these changes technically – making the most of renewable resources (wind, rain and geothermal temperatures), as well as poetically – transforming these resources into uniquely exceptional spaces.See more
A library and classroom building in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada which actively pursues a sustainable, low energy design and also offers a strong aesthetic identity was one of four Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize winners for North America.Prizes awarded to sustainable construction projects in North America » Pour en savoir plus (French) »
The project is distinguished by the innovative effort to produce a building that reflects the environmental forces to which it responds. The systematic approach to achieving a sensible urban ecology is to be highly commended in that it actively pursues a sustainable, low energy design, yet is not functionally or aesthetically compromised.
Unique to these efforts is the warped concrete roof that is shaped in such a way as to increase the velocity of cross winds at this level. Effectively ventilated throughout, cooling is facilitated by the wind towers that pull air upward through the building, thereby eliminating the need for costly conventional air conditioning.
Temperature control is further achieved through solar shading. Not only offering a strong aesthetic identity and refined public amenities to the local context, such measures are particularly valuable in promoting communal awareness of ecological issues at large.
While acknowledging the initially high “hard” cost of certain high-tech solutions, a commendable effort is made with life-cycle calculations to demonstrate the potential long-term benefits of such investments. A clear vision for community improvement is evidenced at both the planning and architectural levels of design.See more
Located in Canada, this entry is driven from the outset by a concern for sustainable construction. The authors are merited for their innovative effort to produce a facility that reflects the environmental factors to which it responds, most notably variable wind conditions. Such forces are put to work in an ingenious way by the warped concrete roof that is shaped so as to increase the velocity of air currents, thus eliminating the need for mechanical ventilation.
Cooling is facilitated throughout by wind towers that pull fresh air upward through the building, while natural light is directed downward into the interior. Much consideration is also given to how the building is situated in the larger context of the campus. The work is as convincing economically as it is aesthetically. Furthermore, the proposal provides a clear vision for community improvement at both the planning and architectural levels of design.Download project entry poster (PDF, 2.53 MB) »See more
Former winners from Canada discuss the positive impact that winning the Holcim Awards competition has created for their …
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