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StructureCraft fabricates an orchid-shaped roof that supports vegetation and Living Building Challenge principles.
After serving patrons at one of Vancouverâ€™s oldest botanical gardens for nearly 100 years, the VanDusen Gardens Visitors Centre had fallen dangerously into disrepair. Perkins+Will Canada conceived of a new, orchid-shaped center that meets CaGBCâ€™s LEED Platinum ratings, and is the countryâ€™s first structure to target the International Living Building Challenge with features like geothermal boreholes, a 75-square meter photovoltaic array, and a timber roof that supports vegetation. To help fabricate the wooden structure to Perkins + Will Canadaâ€™s vision, the team contracted StructureCraft, a Vancouver-based design-build studio specializing in timber craftsmanship and structural solutions.
Initial designs for the 19,000-square-foot building were delivered to StructureCraft as Rhino files. The uniquely shaped rooftop, which mimics an outline of the indigenous British Columbia orchid, had to be economically fabricated in a way that took net carbon effects into account. Within Rhino pluginsâ€”mainly Grasshopperâ€”and with the help of strucutral engineers Fast + Epp, the StructureCraft team sliced the shape of the building into 71 long, curved panels of repeatable geometries. â€œEach curve is unique, so thereâ€™s a different radii for each beam,â€ said Lucas Epp, a structural engineer who worked on the project. â€œWe optimized the global geometry of the roof so the radii of all the beams were in our fabrication tolerances but still achieved the architectâ€™s desired aesthetic.â€ Read More