2011 SAB Award Winning Project - VIU Deep Bay Marine Field Station

The Vancouver Island University’s [VIU] Deep Bay Marine Field Station is a new 1,200 m2 facility located on a three hectare unserviced waterfront site at the south end of scenic Bayne’s Sound, 65 km north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. As an extension of VIU Centre for Shellfish Research Nanaimo Campus, the new Field Station will accommodate research and educational programs devoted to the development of a sustainable shellfish aquaculture industry on Vancouver Island. The new facility will also support the public educational objectives set by the Centre.

Jury Comments: The education and research centre’s beautiful shellfish-inspired form marries the inner and outer shell in a dynamic section. The building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum using readily available technologies, and delivers an impressive energy performance that is 65% superior to a base building of the Model National Energy Code.

The program is organized on three levels around a central atrium. This vertical space provides a visual connection between research, visitor and administrative areas of the building, ensures good penetration of natural light from the extensive glazing and acts as the main ventilation plenum facilitating the movement of air, through stack effect, from low pressure-sensitive window vents to clerestory exhaust openings.

The project is intended to serve as a model for responsible and restorative coastal development by using the natural resources of sun, wind, rain and ocean to reduce the operational footprint. Simple practical and accessible solutions were favoured over complex technologies.

An integrated approach to the development of the site, previously illegally logged, led to the rehabilitation of a salmon-bearing stream, in addition to low-impact site development practices aimed at eliminating possible harm to the shellfish growing habitat from the operations of the Station.

Water, sewer and storm services have no reliance on municipal services and are all managed on-site. Water for domestic consumption is obtained from an on-site well; water for fire protection and sewage conveyance is rain-harvested then collected in a reservoir located at the top of the site.
Sanitary sewage is discharged on-site following tertiary treatment resulting in high-quality effluent, posing no harm to site or ocean ecology. Storm water is filtered, collected and redirected to feed the rain-water reservoir, with excess water discharged through a series of ponds forming the rehabilitated riparian area.

Driveway and parking areas have been surfaced with pervious material consisting of recycled oyster shells from Fanny Bay.
Building location, orientation and form were informed by topography as well as the need for shelter from the strong south-eastern prevailing winds. Sustainable building strategies include an ocean source geo-exchange system for heating and cooling backed by a bio-mass fueled boiler for make-up heat; radiant floor heating with displacement fresh air ventilation; large areas of high-performance glazing for natural light, integrated with high efficiency artificial lighting through the use of daylight and occupancy sensors; rainwater harvesting with gravity flow for toilets and fire protection; extensive use of regionally-sourced beetle kill wood; natural and low-VOC materials; and high-efficiency induction kitchen appliances.

The building is an example of the BC Government’s ‘Wood First’ policy that mandates the use of wood wherever possible in publicly-funded projects. This includes a glulam frame structure, heavy timber decking for the curved roof and nail-laminated solid wood floors. The use of wood in place of other more energy-intensive materials, together with the CO2 already sequestered within the wood, reduces the building’s net carbon footprint by 300 tonnes.

Chris Smith, Nelson Roofing

First off I will discuss the roof system itself. This is an inverted roof and it consists of a Bakor Blueskin underlayment with Aquatac primer. On this there are 2 layers of 1″ polyisocyanurate insulation in staggered layers to give better thermal value. Finally a custom color “Champagne Metallic” 24 gauge 1″ high standing seam panel custom roll formed and curved by us onsite. The metal was supplied by Cascadia Metals.

The roof substrate itself consisted of 3 different mediums and a constantly varying curve. It started on the bottom of the curve with precast concrete and then turned into glulam beams where the major curve meets the slight curve and finally ends with custom structural galvanized outriggers. All of this is covered by T&G decking and the general contractor Heatherbrae Builders did an excellent job of tying them all together and giving us a true and accurate deck to work from. Standing seam roofing is only a skin and it has to follow whatever is underneath so it was important to have a good surface to start from as this project is highly visible from the driveway.

Here on Vancouver Island, everything arrives via BC Ferries (or in some cases by barge). When you get 70′ panels with a 6′ radius curve on the end of them, this starts to take up some flat deck space and the freight charges can be ridiculous. The site in Deep Bay is also quite isolated and space was quite restricted. Using a factory formed panel would have been significantly more expensive and a logistical nightmare in trying to coordinate. The use of our own Quattro panel machine and Schlebach RBM curving machine gave us the flexibility to be able to site form the panels and control many of the external variables, thus minimizing their impact. We were also able to reduce our carbon footprint by deleting unnecessary freight and manufacturing.

Because of the length of the panels (some of them up to 70′) and the varying curves of the roof, the original design was to have a joint in the panel at the junction of the slight curve to the major curve. This is to give some flexibility to the installation of the panels. Although this is a common detail, it does take away from the aesthetics of the roof as there is an interruption in the clean lines of the panels. I put the challenge to my foreman to make a continuous panel and through trial and error (a few scrap panels) we where able to exceed ours and more importantly, our customers expectations. The next challenge was to get the panels, which had the same characteristics of a wet noodle, up on the roof and installed without any damage which again, my foreman completed without any major hitches. I am very proud of our workers for rising to the challenge and completing this project, they are true Craftsmen. I have attached a few pictures of the process for your review.


Graeme Coll-Smith, Tyee Electrical

Main Interior Lighting system was provided by Pinnacle Lighting, Edge Series, 1 lamp up & 1 lamp down c/w 2 dimming ballasts 28 watt T5 lamping. These fixtures work in conjunction  with the control system to maximize the occupancy and daylight harvesting within the building, While giving the user groups total flexibility of light levels because of the multi usage of the spaces and also to meet the required lighting levels & power density.

The recessed luminaires on the project are also provided by Acuity Brands,(Lithonia DOM LED series). The Main Exterior Lighting was (Lithonia ALX LED post-mounted luminiares.)

The approach to maximize energy savings while still giving the user group flexibility of the space was a challenge. However, the design approach was to bring together the Architect (McFarland Marceau Architects ltd), Electrical Engineer (Cobalt Engineering), Electrical Contractor,(Tyee Electric) Lighting specialist’s (Inter-Lite Sales & Coll-Light Industries) and the Controls provider (Acuity Brands)  as a total team effort to attain all the design requirements to reach & meet the LEED Platinum Level.

    Architect McFarland Marceau Architects, Vancouver
    Construction Manager Heatherbrae Builders, Richmond, BC
    Landscape Architect Victoria Drakeford Landscape Architect, Nanaimo, BC
    Civil Engineer Koers & Associates, Parksville, BC
    Electrical Engineer Cobalt Engineering, Burnaby, BC
    Mechanical Engineer Perez Engineering, Vancouver
    Structural Engineer Fast + Epp, Vancouver
    Photos Michael Elkan Photography


  • - Energy intensity: 667 MJ/m2/year [Includes both base building and process energy]
    - Local materials by value: 27%
    - Recycled materials content by value: 53%
    - Water consumption from municipal source : 0 litres/occupant/year [Includes both base building and process energy]

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