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Parks Canada to build new storage facility in Gatineau for its collection

Patricia Williams
Parks Canada to build new storage facility in Gatineau for its collection
MORIYAMA AND TESHIMA ARCHITECTS AND NFOE ARCHITECTS — Construction is expected to get underway next spring in Gatineau, Que. on a new purpose-built collection storage facility for Parks Canada. The 8,200-square-metre building will house 25 million archaeological and historical objects under the agency’s care. About a quarter of the building is dedicated workspace for researchers and staff as well as reception, meeting and ceremonial spaces. Construction is slated for completion in 2022.

With an eye to providing optimal storage conditions for objects under its care, Parks Canada is constructing a new purpose-built storage facility in Gatineau, Que. Net-zero status is being targeted.

Designed by Moriyama and Teshima Architects of Ottawa and Toronto and Montreal’s NFOE Architects in joint venture, the 8,200-square-metre facility will house 25 million archeological and historical objects.

In a release, Parks Canada said currently about 60 per cent of its collection is at risk from inappropriate environmental storage conditions and security measures.

Construction is expected to get underway next spring and be completed in 2022.

The new building will use renewable energy and incorporate sustainable and energy-efficient green building standards, making it a net-zero building.

Landscaping around the building will use native species. Dry ponds will capture excess rainwater.

The project is being undertaken by a team that includes mechanical and electrical engineering consultants Pageau Morel of Gatineau and structural and civil engineering consultants CIMA+, also of Gatineau.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is working collaboratively with Parks Canada on the procurement process. PSPC will be responsible for overseeing construction of the building.

From a design perspective, the principal challenge has been achieving optimal storage conditions for Parks Canada’s collection, said Megan Damini, a media relations officer at Parks Canada.

Design details are currently being fleshed out.

“The design ensures that the collection will be safeguarded through optimal environmental and storage conditions,” Damini said in an email.

These measures include:

  • Class A climate control with rigorous temperature and humidity set points;
  • Double-wall construction around the collection storage area for additional insulation, to maintain required temperature and humidity and to protect the collection from external threats, such as pests;
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that are on emergency generators to ensure consistent climate control in the event of a power outage;
  • A storage system that maximizes space and provides flexible storage capacity to facilitate access and retrieval and to account for changes in the collection over time.

Damini said energy-efficient practices will be adopted with the goal of reducing energy use to 30 per cent less than the target stipulated in the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings, “resulting in significant energy cost savings.”

Construction is not expected to pose any particular challenges, Damini said. A general contractor will be retained.

Parks Canada is responsible for protecting nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. Currently, its collection is housed in six different facilities across the country.

The design of the new facility was announced in late July.

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