The design of the Biosphere Sustainability Centre comprises a new vision of sustainability to adaptively reuse an 11,508 m2 brownfield site near the Thousand Islands in Gananoque, Canada to generate positive new cultural, social, economic, and environmental activity for the entire region.
The Centre includes exhibition and conference facilities, artisan studios, market retail, and office space. The building’s programming is integral to its design, which demonstrates to the public how renewable energy technologies, including earth, water, solar, wind, and biomass, can provide clean heating, cooling, electricity and waste management. Furthermore, the centre will serve as an education resource with a positive long-term impact on planning, living, and working in the region, which is part of a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Centre design includes two green roofs with walk-out gardens, a walk-through biowall that cleans and recycles the air, and sculptural sun shades alongside the building. The Centre’s most striking feature is an atmospheric canopy that hovers above the building and performs multiple functions: it collects sunlight from solar panels, provides shade, reflects the surrounding landscape, and channels rainwater for collection at the corner of the building, where, in the winter months, it transforms into a spectacular icicle sculpture.