COUNTY OF SIMCOE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE EXPANSION - Midhurst, ON
JURY COMMENT - The jury was charmed by the clever plan and the aesthetics of this project that succeeded in integrating the existing and new portions of the building into a cohesive whole. The sinuous form, wrapping around the existing cross-form typology, creates a series of courtyards that ensure ample natural light throughout the building. The jury also liked the simple approach and the absence of technical gadgetry. The project demonstrates the kind of leadership we should expect from our municipalities.
The Simcoe County Administrative Centre on the outskirts of Midhurst, ON serves a population of nearly 500,000 residents spread between Georgian Bay in the west, and Lake Simcoe in the east.
The client’s initial requirements for the project were straightforward: to create additional office space for the County and to improve the circulation in the entire facility. However, synergies were quickly found between the programmatic objectives and the various green design strategies that could transform the existing, dark and inward looking structure into an engaging, light-filled environment for County employees and the public alike.
The new LEED Gold 6,551 m2, two-storey addition wraps around the existing building, taking full advantage of the surrounding views, day lighting and natural ventilation and creating a corridor and a series of interior courtyards between the existing and new structures.
This new accessible corridor becomes a key public space, connecting visitors to the activities of the Centre. The expansion provides much needed additional office space as well as a strategy for future growth.
The narrow floor plate of the addition minimizes the impact of the new footprint on the existing surroundings. The new structure sits primarily on what were previously asphalt areas, resulting in very little increase to the hard surfaces on the site.
The new facility can be reached by public transit, provides designated carpool parking and easy wheelchair access, making it accessible to a broader spectrum of county residents. The addition encourages interdepartmental exchange and provides an enhanced circulation system that integrates new and existing parts of the building.
In accordance with the principles of passive design, solar orientation and predominant wind patterns were analyzed and the building adjusted to minimize exposure to the western sun. The forest to the north and west provides a natural wind break.
The metal-clad structure is designed to maximize the reflection of heat, maintain continuous views and capture natural light. Glazing is carefully planned with overhangs for shading and smaller windows employed in areas subject to heat gain, while maintaining the maximum views permitted. Insulation values achieve optimum performance and reduce the overall energy demand.
A high-performance building envelope with R30 exterior foam insulation, a thermally broken cladding system and superior double-glazed windows reduces overall energy demand, while energy-efficient mechanical systems harvest available energy for heating and cooling. These systems include water-to-air ground source heat pumps with reversible chillers, connected to a 54-well geothermal field - as well as photovoltaic panels that supply 5% of the building’s energy needs.
System choices were made using energy modelling and cost/benefit analysis to determine the pay-back periods for each technology. The building is divided into multiple heating and cooling zones for energy efficiency and flexibility.
Rainwater is diverted from the roof and directed to a 33,000L storage tank for irrigation purposes. A Waterloo Biofilter® system is used to treat 100% of all wastewater generated to tertiary effluent quality criteria before it is discharged to the subsurface in a shallow area bed. A WaterNOx® system provides enhanced nitrogen removal from the wastewater stream before it is returned to the ground.
The administration centre offers a green education outreach program, as well as in-house monitoring and display of building performance in real time. The combination of engaging architecture and public education reinforces the building’s role as the flagship public facility in the county.
- Owner/developer Simcoe County
Architects Teeple Architects in joint venture with Ted Handy and Associates
General Contractor Percon Construction
Structural Engineers Tacoma Engineers
Landscape Architect Stefan Bolliger and Associates
Civil Engineer Skelton Brumwell
Electrical/Mechanical Engineer Smith + Andersen
LEED Consultant Zon Engineering Inc.
Commissioning Agen t Hunter Facilities Management
Photos Scott Norsworthy
- Energy Intensity [building and process energy] = 114.3 kWh/m2/yr
- Energy intensity reduction relative to reference building model [to ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999] = 54%
- Reduction in potable water consumption relative to model building = 36%
- Regional materials [800km radius] by value = 40%
- Reclaimed and recycled materials by value = 25%
- Alumicor 900 Series windows and 2500 Series Versawall curtainwall
- Poly ISO 95 roof insulation and single-ply roof membrane by Firestone
- Fibreglass wall insulation by Owens Corning
- Roof-mounted AC units and PV panels with solar trackers
- Carpet tile by Interface; lighting controls by Wattstopper
- Waterloo Biofilter Systems treats 100% of wastewater