Living Architecture

MEC_Ext-222Spotted this in Sharp & Diamond’s newsletter. They were the landscape architects on Mountain Equipment Co-op’s new head office in Vancouver. The write-up is from their website. More photos there too.

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) has officially opened its head office in Vancouver. The four-story building is designed to meet LEED® Platinum standards with a target to be 70% more energy efficient than conventional Canadian office buildings. Sharp & Diamond (SD) worked closely with MEC and Proscenium Architecture + Planning to integrate the company values of environmental responsibility, workplace culture, accountability and giving back to its members with the site landscape design.

Sustainability at MEC HO is visible through living architecture, including the celebration of rainwater in a vertical ‘waterfall’, rain gardens featuring estuary plants, fruit trees and agricultural planters on the rooftop and in the landscape. Natural daylight controls, high performance low carbon comfort systems, water conservation, and green roofs are among the other notable sustainable site features.

The fourth floor green roof is accessible to employees and features a high level of amenity for MEC staff and visitors. The timber tables and round rock bases reflect the historical shoreline context and provide a comfortable space for relaxation and collaboration.   Sedums and grass carpets create a ‘meadow in the sky’ effect, while urban agricultural planters support apple trees, blueberries, strawberries, with room for staff to grow vegetables.

Working with KWL (Civil) and Pageau Morel (Mechanical), 90% of the mean annual rainfall that used to flow off the former impermeable brownfield site is now mitigated on site. Parking and hard surface runoff flow through a series of waterfalls, channels, and rain gardens with riparian plants and wet meadow grasses that biologically treat the water. This serves the dual function of purifying the water and providing aesthetic, native plantings.

MEC HQ won a 2015 Wood Works! Award for Excellence in Commercial Wood Design.

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