Take a bow: Diamond Schmitt Architects

Two cultural facilities designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects can take a bow. The Burlington Performing Arts Centre and the Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation have received LEED Gold certification for New Construction from The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is the first theatre in Ontario and only the second in Canada to achieve this high distinction for sustainable design. “We pursued an aggressive sustainable directive to reduce energy consumption and lower the environmental impact for this building type, which is not typically associated with green design,” says Gary McCluskie, principal at Diamond Schmitt. 

The sustainable narrative for the Burlington theatre was interwoven throughout the project and began with innovative on-site remediation initiatives to treat contaminated soil. Energy efficient design was achieved with thermal and lighting controls and monitoring, use of natural daylight and exterior envelope design. Ninety percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill, 19 per cent of construction materials contain recycled content and 50 per cent of wood-based materials used are FSC certified. These and other measures resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in use of water, both indoors and outdoors, and a 47 per cent reduction in energy consumption relative to the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB).
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre has a 720-seat Main Theatre, 260-seat Studio, a six-storey fly tower, a large public lobby and plaza that integrates the facility with downtown Burlington. It opened in December 2011.

The Kinnear Centre for Creativity & Innovation is the new hub of the Banff Centre, the renowned Rocky Mountain arts and conference facility located in Banff National Park, Alberta. The three-storey, 60,000-square-foot structure houses learning and meeting rooms, innovative rehearsal and performance space, plus informal gallery areas, a cafe/lounge and the Paul D. Fleck Library & Archives. 

“The multi-disciplinary purposes of the Banff Centre and its setting guided the design to ensure the protection of the natural beauty, wildlife and environment within the park,” says Jarle Lovlin, principal with Diamond Schmitt. 

The building scheme includes an efficient exterior building envelope, sun shading to reduce energy use and a storm water management system. The Kinnear Centre capitalizes on its stunning mountain setting and provides 100 per cent of occupied space with access to views. Fully 78 per cent of wood products were supplied from FSC-certified sources. A 37 per cent energy cost savings relative to the MNECB was achieved.

“Going forward, the measures that enhance the environmental performance of buildings will hopefully become the standard for all building types, integrating sustainable innovation and design as these two projects have demonstrated,” adds Jack Diamond, principal with the firm.

Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) is among the world’s top-10 design firms for the cultural building sector. An award-winning portfolio of opera houses, concert halls, libraries, academic, research and residential buildings includes La Maison Symphonique de Montréal and the New Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. The firm is shortlisted for the Xiqu Centre, a performing arts complex in Hong Kong.