VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre
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VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo: Perkins+WillProject Name: VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre
Year: 2011
Owner: City of Vancouver
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Building Type: Educational
Type: Semi-Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 17222 sq.ft.
Slope: 70%
Access: Inaccessible, Open to Public
Submitted by: ZinCo Canada, Inc. & Greenroofs.com

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Architect: Perkins+Will
Landscape Architect: Cornelia Oberlander with Sharp and Diamond Landscape Architects
Structural Engineer: Fast + EPP Engineers
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Cobalt Engineers
Civil Engineer: Binnie Engineers
Ecologist: Nick Page
Greenroof System: ZinCo
Greenroof System Supplier: ZinCo Canada Inc.
Consultant: Architek Sustainable Building Products
Greenroof Contractor: Houston Landscapes
Waterproofing: Soprema
Roofing Contractor: Metro
Construction Management: Ledcor
VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo Courtesy of ZinCo CanadaVanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo Source: Projects In Place Society: http://projectsinplace.org/2013/04/27/native-blooms-blooming-vandusen-botanical-gardens-green-roof/VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo Courtesy of ZinCo Canada
Located in the heart of Vancouver, BC, the spectacular 22-hectare (55-acre) VanDusen Botanical Garden is renowned internationally for its beauty and for leadership in plant conservation, biodiversity and sustainability.

Opened in 1975, the Mission of the public VanDusen Botanical Garden is to inspire understanding of the vital importance of plants to all life through the excellence of our botanical collections, programs and practices.

In early December 2007 the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation together with the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association selected the design team of Busby Perkins + Will and landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander to develop a Master Plan for the Garden of 55 cultivated acres.

The Certified Petal 2016 net-zero building was designed to meet the Living Building Challenge, one of the first buildings in Canada to receive this certification, and features include solar hot water, photovoltaic panels, geothermal borehole, and a beautiful living roof.

Designed to exceed LEED Platinum standards, the LEED® Canada-NC 1.0 Platinum Certified the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre uses renewable sources found on-site to meet net-zero energy annually. The primary building material is wood which stores carbon dioxide for the life of the building. Photovoltaics on the roof create electricity for the Centre, and hot water is provided by a biomass boiler fed by dry wood waste reclaimed from the surrounding area. 100% of water use comes from captured precipitation or reused water - rainwater is filtered and used for the Centre's greywater requirements and 100% of blackwater is treated by the on-site bioreactor, the first of its kind in Vancouver, and discharged to a new percolation field in the garden.

The design of the VanDusen Botanical Garden's Visitor Centre was inspired by the leaves and flower of an orchid. The undulating green roofs are located on the "petals" and are planted with grasses and colorful bulbs. The multi-petaled structure's circular space is topped by a daylit oculus with a slope over 45 degrees which also serves as a solar chimney that exhausts hot air. The vegetated land ramp connects the greenroof to the ground plane, encouraging use by local fauna and promoting biodiversity.
VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Constructing the cone; Photo Courtesy of ZinCo CanadaVanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo: ZinCo Canada
"Inspired by organic forms and natural systems, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre seeks to create a harmonious balance between architecture and landscape, from a visual and an ecological perspective. The dynamic single-story structure includes an innovative prefabricated roof form that appears to float above the building's curved rammed earth and concrete walls. Metaphorically representing undulating petals, the building form flows seamlessly into a central oculus and the surrounding landscape.

Located on the Garden's prominent southeast corner, the 19,000 square foot Visitor Centre transforms the site's entrance to heighten public awareness of the Garden, its conservation mandate, and the importance of nature. The building houses a cafe, library, volunteer facilities, garden shop, offices, and flexible classroom/rental spaces," (Perkins+Will).

With slopes ranging from 2 degrees to 50 degrees, this project used three different green roof systems. On the low sloped land bridge roof the "ZinCo Perennial Garden" with the Floradrain FD40 and 20 cm of growing medium was installed. The sloped petals green roofs where constructed with the "ZinCo Sloping Meadow" system including the Floraset FS75 and 20 cm of growing medium. And the oculus roof with a slope of more than 45 degrees was installed with the "ZinCo Steep Sloping Meadow" system including the Georaster elements and 12 cm of growing medium. The entire green roof was hydroseeded with local grasses and planted with bulbs native to the area.

On May 16, 2016, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre received Living Building Challenge™ (LBC) Petal Certification by the International Living Future Institute. Awards include: 2014 World Architecture Most Sustainable Building Award; 2014 SAB Green Building Award; 2013 International Green Roof Association, Green Roof Leadership Award; Awards for Environmental Excellence, Excellence in Urban Sustainability Finalist, 2013 GLOBE; Wood Innovation Award, 2013; 2013 Wood WORKS! BC Wood Design Awards; Engineering Award Winner, 2012 World Architecture News; Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia Merit Award, 2012 Architectural Institute of British Columbia.

Additional thumbnail photos:

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo: Perkins+WillVanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre; ; nodding onions in bloom.  Photo: Sharp Diamond Landscape Architecture via ZinCo Canada.  VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre. Graphic: Perkins+Will2014 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Calendar, September: VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo by Nic Lehoux for Perkins+WillVanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre.  Photo: Sharp and Diamond Landscape Architects
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is located at 5251 Oak Street (37th & Oak St.), Vancouver, British Columbia V6M 4H1; 604.257.8335; visit their website. Read about it at the City of Vancouver website. Watch the 2:43 VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre Project of the Week 5/30/17 video from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 5/30/17 video photos courtesy of ZinCo Canada; Perkins+Will graphics and photos including by Nic Lehoux via ZinCo Canada; VanDusen Botanical Garden; screenshot from September 2010 Landscape Architecture by ASLA; VanDusen Botanical Garden 1.jpg by Stan Shebs CC BY-SA 3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons; and Projects In Place Society.

See the project profiles from
Perkins+Will; Connect Landscape Architecture (formerly Sharp and Diamond Landscape Architects); International Living Future Institute; Alucobond; and Living Building Challenge of August 26, 2014 by lbctoronto. Watch the installation of the VanDusen greenroof through timelapse photography from Projects in Place Society with Houston Landscapes and the wonderful VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre as seen at the Vancouver Art Gallery, WE: Vancouver --12 Manifestos for the City 8:59 video by BusbyPerkins+Will on YouTube. See photos at Flickr by VanDusen Gardens.

Read the May 16, 2016
Perkins+Will Achieves First Living Building Challenge Certification Press Release; September 17, 2013 VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre - Net-zero building designed to meet the Living Building Challenge system by Jim Huffman in Sustainable Architecture and Building Magazine; March 21, 2012 Canada's Gorgeous Green-Roofed VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre Now Open to the Public by Diane Pham in Inhabitat; and October 21, 2011 VanDusen's $21.9 million Visitor Centre opens by Steve Whysall in the Vancouver Sun.

Read about
ZinCo GmbH in the Greenroof & Greenwall Directory. For more information contact ZinCo Canada at: 905.690.1661, greenroof@zinco.ca, or visit www.zinco.ca.
 
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