Vancouver is already known as a leader in green architecture, but you can see it seriously outdo itself at the opening of the new VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre – which is well on its way to becoming Canada's first certified living building.
Inspired by an orchid leaf and designed by renowned architecture firm Perkins+Will along with groundbreaking landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and Sharp & Diamond, the 19,000 square-foot, $21.9-million facility features rammed earth walls, geothermal and solar energy, on-site water capture and treatment, and the most environmentally responsible building materials, making it entirely carbon- and energy-neutral.
Located in a woodland area between the Eastern North American and the Pacific Northwest plant collections, the stunning centre will house a café, western Canada's largest horticultural library, classrooms, exhibit space, the VanDusen Garden Shop and more – and provide a living example of truly sustainable architecture.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, Vancouver Park Board chair Aaron Jasper and other local luminaries will be on hand for the grand opening festivities, which also include free admission to the garden, live entertainment and a celebratory cake.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre opens Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission to the garden is free all day. For more info, visit vancouver.ca/parks.