CW Interiors |
Global Glimpse | January 2015

PLay of senses

Smith Vigeant Architects designed the Discovery Centre that urges the mind to explore the nuances of space and invites the senses to experience the amalgamation of exteriors and interiors.

Located at the Mont-Tremblant National Park, Quebec, this gorgeous piece of architecture by Smith Vigeant Architects is the Discovery Centre - Centre de dTcouverte du parc national du Mont-Tremblant. The Centre commands a stunning view of Lake Monroe and its adjacent hills and mountains. To further enhance this view, one aspect of the exterior is clad with mirror panels that reflect the beauty around.

Since the view around was breathtaking, it was imperative that the design of the Discovery Centre fuse with it. Thus, as Daniel Smith, Architect, Smith Vigeant Architects, says, ´The building becomes a hub that allows the visitors to learn about the park´s many wonders and understand the links that unite them. Approximately 450 sq mt of space serves as the main building and services area and 150 sq mt belongs to the amphitheatre.´

Wooden tones
The highlight of the structure is the many varieties and forms of wood that help in replicating the textures and colours of the milieu. Wood also gives the building dura¡bility, resistance and a warm ambience, as it is extensively used in the interiors, too. According to the architect, limiting the site disturbance during construction and respe¡cting the construction budget were the main challenges faced.

Interior space
Within the main volume, which is a large sculpted box that encloses primarily the discovery area, there is also an exhibition hall and a community hall. There is also an adjoining outdoor terrace that is created as an extension of the discovery area, separated only by a tall glass curtain wall, which can be used to host larger events.

Bioclimatic integration
Since it is located within a national park, it was a pre-requisite that the building adhere to bioclimatic principles: ´The shape of the building is sculpted by the climatic attributes of the site. The careful study of the orientation and positioning of openings maximise solar gain and natural ventilation. A large wooden curtain wall on the south-west fatade provides adequate daylight for the main public areas. A strategically placed skylight also follows these principals,´ shares Smith.

He adds, ´On the north-east fatade, several openings welcome the cool lake breeze into the building, reducing the need for mechanical cooling systems. Additionally, hydrothermal energy is extracted from the lake to heat or cool the concrete floor slab.´

The Discovery Centre is sure to lead design enthusiasts on a unique journey of discovering the aesthetics and dynamics of design.

Total Area: 600 sq mt
Total Cost: $2.8M (CAN)
Design Team: Daniel Smith, Anik Malderis, Karine Renaud, Cindy Neveu, StTphan Vigeant
Text: Kanishka Ramchandani
photos: Stephane Brugger

Smith Vigeant Architects, 5605 avenue de GaspT, Bureau 601 MontrTal (QC) Canada H2T 2A4.
Tel: 514 844 7414.

Meet the architect
Daniel Smith
Firm: Smith Vigeant architects founded in 1992.
Firm specialisation: Recreational, institutional, commercial, housing, nordic buildings, interiors and urban design, high performing and ecological projects.
Design philosophy: Contemporary and high performing buildings.
Philosophy towards life: Enjoy life and the moment present! Does not quit, great design will prevail!
Favourite architect/Designer: Charles Correa, Sanjay Puri, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, Renzo Piano, Shigero Ban, Lou Sauer

Awards won:

  • The Prix d´excellence CECOBOIS 2014 in the category ´Interior Design
  • The ´Sustainable Design Award´ at the Grand Prix du Design.
  • The ´Jury Favourite´ at the ICCA-CISC Design in 2013.

Anticipated savings:

  • 141 072 liters/year potable water consumption reduction
  • 97 547 liters/year sanitary outflow reduction
  • 15% recycled content
  • 59%/year energy cost saving
  • 481 GJ/year energy saving
  • 2600 kg/year Greenhouse gas emissions reduction
  • 62 MWh/year energy produced by heath pump
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