Cowichan Visitor Centre
Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre
Duncan, British Columbia
Architecture and Urban Planning
Situated along the Trans-Canada Highway, the visitor centre is highly visible to passersby. With its strong architectural form, the building is reminiscent of Vancouver Island’s historic barns.
The visitor centre, which exhibits carefully crafted details made from locally sourced materials, benefits from green technologies that reduce operating costs and limit environmental impact. The centre shares a large site with the BC Forest Discovery Centre. The new site plan redefined public areas and vehicular flow for the two institutions.
This striking building and associated landscaping has turned an underdeveloped site into a welcoming public facility.
An energy-efficient public space was created by incorporating:
a passive solar hybrid system that collects and redistributes heat through flooring,
an insulated prefabricated building system (Pacific SmartWall®),
collection of rainwater and greywater for irrigation and to flush toilets,
carbon dioxide sensors to detect increased occupancy and open louvres to bring in fresh air, and
an electric vehicle re-charging station.
A positive process and a positive result
A joint venture among several stakeholders, the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre was built to meet the needs of more than one client. To move the project forward, a positive working relationship between client groups was established. The project was adjusted and refined to accommodate multiple needs and visions. This new-found cooperation was pivotal to making the visitor centre a reality.
Circulation for parking, pedestrians and cyclists is better defined. An additional entry road eases movement during annual events. In keeping with the project’s emphasis on sustainable design, landscape improvements take advantage of natural drainage patterns, increase water retention and moderate runoff. Rainwater and greywater are collected and used to irrigate landscaping and to flush toilets.
Landscape Design, Cynthia Cohlmeyer
Structural Engineer, Crosier Kilgour & Partners
Mechanical Engineer, GD Stasynec and Associates
Electrical Engineer, Pro Engineering
General Contractor, Kinetic Construction
Prefabricated Wall Panels, Pacific Homes
Rainwater Harvesting, Rainwater Connection
Beautifully and Artfully Crafted