Canadian Architect


Greenstone Government of Canada Building

RAIC Awards--Innovation in Architecture

May 1, 2007
by Canadian Architect

ARCHITECT Manasc Isaac Architects Ltd.

LOCATION Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

The Greenstone Government of Canada Building in Yellowknife was awarded the RAIC Innovation Award in the Science category. This LEED-Silver building was developed through an integrated design process incorporating a unique Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system. It was the first installation of its kind to be designed within a pre-glazed advanced curtain wall system, notwithstanding being applied to a building located within such an extreme climate as the Canadian North. The photovoltaic (PV) elements are sandwiched between two layers of glass on the exterior face of a high-performance four-part curtain wall system. Designed for its cold climate application, it is the largest curtain wall-integrated BIPV system in Canada, producing 35 kilowatts of energy. Having already performed very well in its first year of operation, the BIPV component was designed to replace the need for external shading devices, in addition to being able to generate electricity for the south-facing atrium, or “city room.”

To be sure, the success of this project’s innovative sustainable design components was made possible by the strategic alignment amongst the client (Public Works and Government Services Canada), Natural Resources Canada, the manufacturer (Visionwall), construction manager (PCL), Keen Engineering, and Manasc Isaac Architects.

Jury Comments

The Greenstone Government Building was chosen by the jury for this award due to its significant technical innovations and as an important testing and demonstration project. One of the project’s technical features is the integration of photovoltaic cells into the exterior curtain wall system. This is notable, especially given the northern location. Ingenuity was evident in the ability to make the budget work and retain the degree of innovation of the design. The submission provided a clearly documented process from the development and testing of this integrated system through to post-occupancy monitoring and “lessons learned.” The jury wants to commend the client (Public Works and Government Services Canada) for their exemplary support for the design solutions developed by the design team. They observed that it was admirable that the designers and clients were willing to take risks in innovations in a challenging project. It was recognized that the success of the project required a number of parties to work very effectively together. The project will provide an effective learning resource in the exploration of sustainable building technologies and will have significant value in guiding design decisions on future projects.

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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