Base de plein-air Sainte-Foy, Quebec City, Quebec

As we seek opportunities for outdoor activities during the pandemic, a new facility in Quebec City offers a model for the type of building that can help facilitate public, outdoor recreation.

Designed by Quebec- and France-based Patriarche, the new Base de plein air de Sainte-Foy is conceived to highlight its natural surroundings on a recreational tourism site in a suburb of Quebec City. The complex is open to the general public, and includes washrooms, change rooms, and a multi-purpose room. It is a centre for renting recreational equipment such as canoes, kayaks and slacklines, to be used on the extensive site.

In the winter, the site hosts a network of snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing trails, along with a sledding hill.

The program is structured around four main buildings housing the centre’s administrative, public, sanitary and storage functions. Initially, the City of Quebec planned the construction of a single building on two floors. By dividing the program into several connecting buildings, the team was able to maintain a more intimate, human scale, allowing users to draw closer to the site and the activities it offers.

Photo courtesy of Patriarche

Photo courtesy of Patriarche

Cedar shingle
, slate shingle, cedar clapboard, and sheet steel were chosen for their rustic and natural appearance, along with their durability and ease of maintenance.

The extensive use of wood was key to the concept, making it possible to simplify the construction of the building and to limit its construction cost. The team designed the multipurpose room as a glulam wood structure with exposed wood decking.

Photo courtesy of Patriarche

The administrative volume at the entrance to the site is clad in eastern white cedar. Cedar shingle cladding on the walls and roof links inside and out; elsewhere, slate-facing is used as a cladding material. Exterior wood surfaces have been coated with bleaching oil to promote uniform aging over time.

Inside, wood plank soffits extend to the entry ceilings and to the walls of the multipurpose room.

Photo courtesy of Patriarche

The reception pavilion includes prefabricated wooden trusses and plywood-covered wood frame walls. The load-bearing walls were manufactured in a factory before being assembled on site. The large central room includes glulam posts and beams with steel tie rods.