YORK REGION ADMINISTRATIVE ANNEX North of Toronto in Newmarket is another sustainable and resilient building under construction. The York Region Administrative Centre Annex designed by WZMH Architects will be an eight-story building that houses York Regionâ€™s public services and a Provincial Offences Act courthouse. The building has been designed to ensure the highest interior quality for guests and employees while being highly energy efficient. Central to the building is a full-height atrium framed in green walls and a feature staircase.
Foundation walls adjacent to the river have been designed to be water-tight even during the worst-case flooding. A pedestrian bridge crossing the creek has piers that would be submerged during extreme flooding and have been checked for impact loading from floating debris, as have the foundation walls. Lastly, a standalone back-up generator building adjacent to the Annex and away from potential flood areas increases the resilience of the Annex.
RENDERING BY WZMH.
While flooding is often a hazard associated with coastal areas, local topology and hydrology can make it a risk in many areas. Such is the case for York Annex, located within the Western Creek floodplain and directly adjacent to a creek. Extreme flood scenarios have been modelled and show that flood waters can rise to just a few meters below the first floor of the Annex.
CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS. PHOTO BY KAY LEE.
The above two case studies have briefly demonstrated how sustainability and resilience can be incorporated in new and existing buildings, a mindset we must incorporate in all our projects given the ever-changing climate around us. The existing building stock in Canada and abroad represents a huge opportunity for sustainable retrofits which can be done efficiently and discretely. In todayâ€™s market, resilience is a key driver
for buildings to attract quality tenants as they become increasingly aware of the risk climate change poses and how this can impact their business if not proactively considered. These case studies have focused on the structural and building envelope aspects of the projects, however resilience is not something can be achieved by any one consultant. The teams on both projects collaborated from the onset to ensure resilient and sustainable solutions were implemented throughout and across disciplines.
Matthew Smith is a Structural Engineer at Entuitive.
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