VANCOUVER – In Canada the new Visitor Centre at the VanDusen Botanical Garden is a stunning balance between architecture and nature.
The 1765-sq-m structure is partially submerged into its surrounding landscape, with undulating roofs that surface through the earth with large windows.
Inspired by the shape of an orchid, architects at Perkins + Will created the roof ‘petals’ to mimic natural systems and allow sunlight to enter the building below. The roof – which is often level with the ground – is covered with native plants organized into ecological zones.
The design has been made to surpass LEED Platnium status. The architects have pursued the Living Building Challenge, which calls for the highest level of sustainability in the built environment; only three projects worldwide have earned full certification. The Visitor Centre includes onsite renewable sources, including geothermal boreholes, solar hot water tubes and solar photocoltaics to achieve net-zero energy on an annual basis.
Photos courtesy of Nic Lehoux