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Vancouver building by Perkins+Will receives LBC Petal Certification


May 23, 2016
by Canadian Architect

The VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre. Photo courtesy of: Perkins+Will

The VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre. Photo courtesy of: Perkins+Will

The VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre by Perkins+Will has received Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification by the International Living Future Institute.

A first for the global architecture and design firm, the certification is the most advanced measurement of sustainability in the built environment and recognizes projects in performance categories called Petals. The VanDusen Visitor Centre achieved certification in the categories of Site, Materials, Health and Beauty.

“Today marks an important milestone for this project and our firm. Perkins+Will has long pushed the boundaries of sustainable design, and VanDusen exemplifies our next generation of projects—projects that explore the connection between humans and nature, and demonstrate our commitment to regenerative design,” says Peter Busby, managing director of Perkins+Will’s San Francisco office.

Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre was inspired by the form and natural systems of a native orchid. Metaphorically representing undulating petals, the building’s roof form appears to float above the building’s curved walls and flows seamlessly from a central oculus and into the surrounding landscape. A multi-disciplinary design team that included architects, engineers, landscape architects, and ecologists collaborated to integrate natural and human systems in order to restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the site.

LEED Canada-NC 1.0 Platinum Certified by the Canada Green Building Council and named “Most Sustainable Building of the Year” in 2014 by World Architecture News, the Visitor Centre is a public expression of sustainability both in Vancouver and around the world. The project’s many innovations include: the procurement of healthy building materials; the integration of on-site renewable resources, along with passive design strategies, to significantly reduce energy consumption; the use of filtered rainwater for the building’s greywater requirements; and the treatment of 100% of blackwater by an on-site bioreactor—the first of its kind in Vancouver.

“Almost a decade ago the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation commissioned Perkins+Will to create a signature, green facility to serve as a model of sustainable building for the City of Vancouver, to reflect its goal of becoming the greenest city in the world by 2020, and to raise the profile of the garden, both locally and internationally,” says Danica Djurkovic, Director of Facilities Planning and Development, City of Vancouver. “This project has exceeded our expectations. Since its opening, the garden has experienced a 50% increase in visitors and revenue.”

The VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre is the first project in Vancouver to be Living Building Challenge Petal certified and is one of only a handful of projects registered in British Columbia. The project has been recognized with accolades and earned dozens of awards from institutions around the world.

“This building exemplifies what can happen when beauty, response to place and living systems are the drivers of design,” says Amanda Sturgeon, CEO of the International Living Future Institute.