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Smith Vigeant’s Boucherville Visitor’s Centre claims architecture prize


November 30, 2017
by Canadian Architect

The Îles-de-Boucherville National Park, which offers great outdoor experiences just minutes away from downtown-Montreal, is now equipped with a new discovery and services center designed by Smith Vigeant Architectes. Opened in June, the project recently received two awards at the 2017 American Architecture Prize, receiving a nod in the “recreational” category.

Smith Vigeant

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The center is both the main welcoming point for visitors of the park and a showcase building for Sepaq, the network of national parks in Quebec. Entirely made of local wood, the center confirms Sepaq’s commitment to be an ambassador of wood construction excellence and Smith Vigeant Architectes’ expertise in wood construction design.

Smith Vigeant

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The conceptual quality of this project is the result of an integrated design process and active collaboration between the architects, engineers and Sepaq’s team. The center invites visitors on a discovery of nature and provides a place for social interaction. The architecture respects and reflects its environment as the building achieves high standards of environmental performance and was designed to fit harmoniously within the site.

Smith Vigeant

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

The buildings undulated edges were carefully placed to minimize tree cutting, and encourage visitors to wander around and progressively discover the space. The fluid motion is accentuated by a textured veil: a succession of wooden slats overlapping the siding all around the building. This cladding also acts as a light filter and produces shadows dancing across the ground, reminding of the willows’ foliage. Inside, a curvy channel-like recess on the ceiling and a skylight bring in natural light and enhances natural ventilation. The architectural composition is all tied-in together by a glass curtain wall which offers direct views of the parks from the inside and reflecting nature on the tainted glass outside.

Smith Vigeant

Photo credit: Adrien Williams

Project Data:

Services and Discovery Center of Îles-de-Boucherville National Park
Location: Boucherville, QC
Budget: 3.5 M$
Project occupation date: June 2017
Area: 510 m2/5490 ft2
Client: SEPAQ
Architects: Smith Vigeant Architectes Inc.
Engineers: WSP and Bouthillette Parizeau
Landscape Architect: BC2
General Contractor: Construction R. Bélanger
Project Manager: Daniel Smith
Architecture Team Members: Stéphan Vigeant, Anik Malderis, Cindy Neveu, Mariana Segui, Maxime Varin