Art and Science

Laboratoires terna, Quebec City, Quebec
Pierre Thibault, architecte/Les consultants DMG

Located in a technological industrial park on the outskirts of Quebec City, the facility for Laboratoires terna is flanked by a highway and a wide boulevard while accommodating several mature trees and a river running through its campus. Two flat-roofed steel-structured volumes, one clad in West Coast cedar and the other in masonry, house three distinct functions.

The masonry building on the southwest of the site contains a bio-medical research facility with laboratories and production capacities. The cedar-clad volume on the northeast section holds offices and conference rooms. The two major zones are clearly separated by a third volume: a double-height central open-plan space with generous amounts of glazing that provides an elegant transition from exterior to interior.

The double-height volume acts as a reception hall and interior courtyard. Natural lighting in this space along with its resplendent views of the natural surroundings that change throughout the year create a peaceful respite for workers in an area of the city where the environment has been severely compromised.

The separation of lab and office space meant that each of the two buildings could respond to the specific building requirements such as materiality and security. By approaching the design in this way, budgetary allocations could be more easily accommodated. The division of functions also helped the siting of the building.

The administrative building, with its elongated form, faces out onto the technology park to allow for a desired tranquillity for its workers. Being clad in West Coast cedar with a composition of ribbon windows helped promote a warm and elegant character to the administrative component of the project.

The more imposing laboratory building contains two levels of research and production. Facing the highway, it is clad in masonry where windows strategically puncture its skin to allow as much natural light as possible to enter the large lab spaces. Combining the research and production facilities in one volume made it easier to accommodate specific floor-to-floor heights and address issues relating to building materials and security.