NORTH VANCOUVER CITY HALL
The City of North Vancouver’s City Hall renovation project expands the existing City Hall 1970’s modern heritage building into a recently vacated library structure with a new bridging atrium.
The design process involved a detailed programming effort to accommodate the 20 year growth projections of the facility and a fundamental office culture shift desired by staff and management. Solutions throughout the design were to create a flexible, productive working environment for the diverse services offered to the public in the building, and to reinforce the city’s aspirations to showcase their new sustainable city mandate.
The project received a prestigious “Innovation in Wood” grant from the Wood Enterprise Coalition for its simple and elegant engineered wood roof structure that is the main focus of the atrium space.
NVCH | DETAILS
The design team’s goal was to create a very public building; about the community and for the community. The design is open and transparent. The main link between all departments and the public is found in the 67 metre (220 foot) long atrium space that brings together the community.
The design sought to create a strong public presence on 13th street and an increase the presence and connection on the 14th street Civic Plaza. This included a clear front door facing the street.
The building celebrates the community of North Vancouver through art, design and the creation of shared informal community space inside and out. The Atrium provides a new and improved space for large public gatherings
The growth of the City over the last several decades has increased the demand on City Hall. An increase in staffing to meet the community’s growth and the re-organization of Civic department required more office space and new public service counters.
The design simplifies the way-finding for the public to and from the building and within the building.
The Green Room (Meeting Room 2A) offers a large and public multipurpose meeting room at the end of the Atrium. The meeting room cantilevers 45 feet (14 metres) out over the front entrance helping create a dramatic arrival plaza on 13th.
Public Art was selected for the main atrium early in the design process. The result is an integrated art program designed into the architecture. North Shore resident Brent Comber provided a sculpture and bench at the north end of the Atrium. The main Atrium stair runs along a large wall of black-stained elm, milled from the original Elm tree that was removed from the site prior to construction. The wall is complimented by artwork entitled 35 Rings by Antonio Millares III and Jeremy Crowle. 35 Rings reflects the history of North Vancouver in a timeline of metaphorical tree rings. An existing public sculpture entitled Intersecting Planes all but hidden on the existing city hall roof before the project began has been given new life and prominence on the upper roof garden.
The main entrance off 13th has a large sculptural sign and water feature made of weathering steel. The entrance sign echoes the mountains of the north shore with two triangle shapes intersecting.
A Welcome Pole has been added to the main entrance landscape along 13th.
Sustainable design objectives were considered for all aspects of the project goal. These included environmental, social and economic sustainability. From the day lighting of the office space to naturally ventilating the Atrium, from reusing materials and structure on site to sequestering carbon dioxide in the wood roof, from durable legacy construction to an interactive landscape approach, each major design decision considered its sustainable benefit to the community. The renovation and addition is projected to achieve LEED Silver rating
A priority of the project was to address long term energy costs. The renovation and addition is integrated into the Lonsdale Energy Plant, providing radiant heating and cooling to the new slabs in the building
The design team also sought to reuse and tell stories of reuse through the design. An 80 year old elm tree sat in the space between the existing library and city hall. The roots of the tree were damaging the two structures and it was determined that the tree must be removed. To honour its loss and mark its presence where the atrium now stands, the design team repurposed the wood in the feature wall of the Atrium staircase. The wall is intended to echo the timber stacked in mill yards in the early days of North Vancouver.
Continuing the theme of the elm tree, the design removed cedar sunshades from the existing building. The large timbers removed were milled down for landscape benches giving the wood a new life in the new building.
The structure of the old library building has been retained and seismically reinforced by fiberglass-wrapping the existing concrete columns. The old library building provides most of the new office space for the projected 20 year growth of City Hall.
The entire building has been sprinklered to bring it up to today’s Fire Protection Requirements.
The building makes use of natural cross ventilation with air being drawn through the offices and exhausted out the atrium high clerestory window vents
Exterior sunshades prevent solar radiation from reaching south facing rooms during summer months
The upper level roof garden has a series of paper bark maple trees that shade the atrium windows in summer but let light and warmth through when the leaves fall in winter.
The new North Vancouver Civic Centre is an expressive showcase for the innovative use of wood in buildings. This is an important part of the sustainable story. Rapidly renewable wood sourced from sustainable forest practices has been used to dramatically reduce the green house gas and energy footprint of the building’s structure.
Minimum 10,000 cu/ft of wood used – weighing 115 metric tonnes
This represents approximately 230 metric tonnes of stored CO2 in the new building structure
The Atrium roof structure is built of cross laminations of large format Laminated Strand Lumber ( LSL). The solution is a first of its kind spanning 32’ and interlocking to make a 220’ long atrium. The panels were pre-fabricated and erected on site. The LSL panels are made of aspen – a rapidly renewable wood with a 10-12 year growth cycle. These types of solutions are an important approach to sustainable building as wood is grown by the sun, durable, strong and ultimately uniquely beautiful.
The City received one of the Province’s 3 Wood Design Grants for Innovation from Wood Enterprise Coalition. The grant honoured the design solution and design team’s efforts in developing a sustainable roof structure.
The ceiling of the offices also uses the LSL material in a unique way. The slats offer an acoustic ceiling and continue the warmth of the wood Atrium ceiling into the office areas in an inexpensive manner.-
The red public counters are quite unique. The same LSL material as the roof structure was used but handled in a very beautiful way by sanding and filling the panel voids and then dying the panels a rich colour of red.
The measure of success of this project will be when the building is finally filled with the energy and enthusiasm of our community. The Atrium is a bright warm space to be in the winter months and refreshing cool space in summer. It is a space that should be enlivened by elementary school choirs and bustling community meetings. It is a place that should inspire the community to dream of an ambitious and sustainable future for the City of North Vancouver. It is a space we should all be proud of.
~ Michael Green
Begun March 2009
Completed May 2012
Construction July 2010 – July 2012
38,000 square feet total project area
New construction | 11,000 sf
Renovation | 27,000 sf
New front door on 13th street
Landscape and exterior upgrades for a consistent public building
New public space and meeting rooms
Expanded offices for city staff
Expanded public counters for finance + community development
New washrooms and amenities for the public
More accessible building for seniors and disabled
Mass timber atrium structure of laminated strand lumber
Natural and stained clear cedar exterior siding
mcfarlane green biggar ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN | ARCHITECT
Michael Green | Project Principal | Lead Architect | Designer
Jordan van Dijk
Stephanie da Silva
EQUILIBRIUM CONSULTING | STRUCTURAL ENGINEER
AME CONSULTING GROUP | MECHANICAL ENGINEER
BLC | ELECTRICAL ENGINEER
SPACE 2 PLACE DESIGN INC. | LANDSCAPE
RECOLLECTIVE | SUSTAINABILITY
GHL CONSULTANTS | CODE CONSULTANTS
HUB ENGINEERING | CIVIL ENGINEERING
BUNT & ASSOCIATES | TRANSPORTATION
STUART OLSON DOMINION CONTRACTORS LTD | CONTRACTOR
- Video by Naturally Wood: http://mg-architecture.ca/north-vancouver-city-hall-a-community-space/