Meeting LEED SILVER criteria, the project incorporates large-scale earthworks made from the soil displaced during the site preparation, thus minimizing the transport of materials. Site developments include an events plaza and various ecological features within an urban park. Along with many aspects of energy efficiency achieved during the construction process, the landscape integrates green roofs, a surface water management system that in itself shapes part of the landscape, bio-swales, retention basins using indigenous plants and phytoremediation, large masses of planting on slopes to slow surface runoff, as well as various other sustainable elements. The reuse of excavation materials to build the mounds also serves many ecological & economical purposes: sustainable reuse, better management of material by keeping them on-site, little or no use of outside materials.
The site’s landscape concept, in keeping with the architecture of the space, brings together two landscapes: dry and wet. Inspired by typical elements of the local landscape, the strategy manipulates and highlights landscape qualities specific to the Outaouais valley - the flow of hills and mountains is integrated into our landscape, as is the Outaouais River. By creating a green oasis the site contrasts with the commercial surroundings in which car parks are predominant.
The project is a catalyst within the neighbourhood, providing two distinct and active urban spaces, the plaza and the landform-park, which reconnect two poles of urban fabric on the north-south axis by creating a pedestrian axis that goes through a public plaza on the main side of the building and a large green open space on the other side. The project integrates ecological concerns as well as contemporary design elements and outdoor activity opportunities. It contributes in bringing life to the surrounding buildings by creating interfaces with the local institutions and adds quality to life to the developing area.
The landform-park is shaped by earth mounds covered densely by plants, designed to represent the local landscape. These mounds are accessible by footpaths that wind and crisscross, creating an urban forest in which several sitting areas allow visitors to appreciate the scenery. The plaza, inspired by the wet landscape, is shaped with circular waves inspired by rain falling on the surface of water. The concrete paving acts like a megapixel, giving the form a graphic twist.
The landscape project also integrates public art to contribute to the overall experience of the space while offering a new experience within a commercial context - the urban earthwork becomes an active and dynamic oasis for occasional users as much as residents. Each sculpture participates in the landscape and celebrates each of the green mounds. Five triangles are also carefully placed to extend certain high points of the landscape.
The project and site hosted the 45e finale of ‘Jeux du Québec’, summer 2010.
Gatineau Sports Center, a 3.4 hectares (34 000m2) site, is a large earthwork landscape. By addition of a footbridge, it also creates a new urban axis. Like a spine between the landscape and the Center, the bridge, made of concrete and steel grating, connects the two spaces while also connecting a major bus stop to a future residential area. Following the axis, pedestrians are invited to discover the surroundings and the panoramic views allowed by the bridge’s vantage point.
At the northern end of the site, water management techniques resemble the elegance a natural riverbed - swales collect water runoff from roofs, car parks and access roads. A careful choice of indigenous plants adapted to wet conditions will filter grey water before it penetrates the ground; this water management strategy creates an attractive riverbed that can be appreciated in both wet and dry seasons.
The reuse of 50% of excavation materials from the building construction to build the green earth mounds fulfills many ecological purposes: sustainable reuse; better management of materials by keeping them on-site; and little to no use of exterior materials. By densely planting local shrubs, the earth mounds become a small urban forest proper to the region. They are accessible for pedestrians to explore and discover the regional scenery from four rocky plazas providing vantage points and rest stops.