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biosphere sustainability centre, canada, paul raff studio, renewable energy, green roof, green design, sustainable architecture

The centre will be built on a 2.8 acre brownfield site near the Thousand Islands in Gananoque. It is hoped that the center will generate new cultural, social, economic and environmental activity for the entire region. In total, project will comprise almost 14,700 sq m (148,000 sq ft) and include program space for exhibitions, conferences, offices, artisan studios and market retail. Part of the goal for the building is to demonstrate to the public how renewable energy from the earth, wind, sun, water and biomass can be used to provide clean heating, cooling, electricity and waste management.

An innovative atmospheric canopy that hovers above the building will be the centre’s most striking feature and will serve multiple purposes. Solar panels mounted on the roof will harvest the sun’s energy while providing shade, the canopy’s shiny bottom surface reflects the surrounding landscape, and the roof also serves to channel and collect rainwater. In the winter months, this rainwater will be transformed into a spectacular icicle sculpture. The centre also boasts two green roofs with walk-out gardens, a walk-through biowall that cleans and recycles the air, and sculptural sun shades alongside the building.