Vote Now! Baird Sampon Neuert Architects named as a finalist for ArchDaily Building of the Year

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects’ French River Visitor Centre (CA, April 2007) has been announced as a finalist for ArchDaily’s Building of the Year Awards. ArchDaily is a popular online resource devoted to architecture and architects.

The award-winning French River Visitor Centre is one of five finalists in the Public Facilities category, drawn from projects around the globe. Public voting continues until February 13, 2011, and if you vote now, you could win an iPad. Winners will be announced February 15, 2010.

Baird Sampson Neuert Architects worked with Ontario Parks in developing the French River Visitor Centre, a unique outdoor education centre located in Northern Ontario. The project establishes an architecture of the river that invokes its defining physical qualities and cultural legacy. Visitor experience is organized along an inclined topography, establishing an interpretive armature for the project along while a series of terraces create public rooms and event spaces that provide physical extension between interior and exterior landscapes.

Sited upon an outcrop of exposed granite, the building is organized into two primary vessels. Visitor services are located behind an expansive concrete wall that merges with the site while exhibit and community events space are housed within a large wooden volume that hovers above this found/constructed landscape.

Significantly, the building’s high-performance envelope constructed from structural insulated panels together with heat recovery on ventilation air and other performance measures, has enabled it to achieve energy conservation that exceeds the Model National Energy Code for Buildings standards by 40%. Sustainable storm water management practices and environmental stewardship aspects also constituted a major component of the project and are legible throughout the site.

The French River Visitor Centre has received critical acclaim and earned a 2010 Governor General’s Medal for Architecture among many other awards. More importantly, this centre has experienced high public visitation since its opening and has become an important landmark and gathering place for the local community.

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