VanDusen Botanical Garden

Jesper Menting's picture

One of my favourite projects in the field of sustainable architecture is the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver. In my opinion this is a building where sustainability and architecture are interwoven with each other in every aspect. The shape of the building, several spaces placed around a high central atrium, results in a naturally ventilated indoor climate. The aluminum sculpture hanging in this atrium is not only there for aesthetic reasons, but stimulates the flow of rising air when heated by the sun.

The green roof covering the building results in a lower cooling load, decreasing the building's energy consumption. What I personally like a lot in this project is the use of curved wood throughout the project. Not only does it make the building blend in perfectly with its surroundings, it is also a good example of making good use of local materials for construction.

This image shows the other smart elements used to optimize the building's climate performance. Rainwater is captured by the roof and cleaned to be used for the building's water taps and the garden irrigation system. The roof also provides space for a photovoltaic array to provide energy for the building. The use of rammed earth for internal and external walls shows that concrete or bricks are not the only materials available for making solid elements.