District of Sechelt
AIBC LG Innovation Award
The design-built Sechelt Water Resource Centre turns traditional municipal wastewater treatment on its ear by creating a public space in the residential heart of Sechelt that invites both visual and physical exploration. Instead of hiding behind a locked chain-link fence, this facility reveals mechanical and biological systems that clean waste water, encouraging the public to witness their role in the hydrological cycle. In turns teaching facility, botanical garden, and sewage treatment plant, the centre tells the story of the water recycling process: After primary treatment, the roots of plants – everything from tomatoes to horsetails – provide an ideal environment for beneficial bacteria to decompose contaminants. In comparison to the facility it replaced, this Centre has double the treatment capacity, lower operational costs and creates resources for industry, parks, and agriculture. And now, the staff have new duties including harvesting tomatoes and pruning roses.
The centre has two main components – the office and the greenhouse space. The transparent greenhouse space reflects the rooflines and volumes of the residential streetscapes while showcasing these one-of-a-kind processes. The opaque office spaces – clad in charred cedar to reference the carbon used in filtration and yellow cement board to indicate heavy equipment areas – shield sounds and smells associated with a district utility. The facility is designed to meet LEED Gold Certification.