Over the past couple of years I had the great privilage of leading one of the most creative and passionate teams I have ever had the pleasure of working with to design one of the greenest buildings in the world - The Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship Education Centre - and last week it was officially unveiled.
This is a first-of-its-kind project in Eastern Canada. It is a Living Building Challenge (seven petals) project that is designed to integrate seamlessly into the restored York Regional Forest, Hollidge Tract, and help the community learn about the importance of forest ecosyestems.
In designing this building we used the most rigorous sustainability certifications in the world by targeting both LEED® Platinum and Living Building Challenge Certification. The result is expected to be the first Full Petal Living Building Challenge facility in Eastern Canada.
To realize this important goal, DIALOG, in collaboration with the Region, brought together a unique, interdisciplinary team that not only included architects, engineers and interior designers but also forest education experts, arborists and ecologists. As part of this team I had the great pleasure of working with my good friends Jeff Schnurr, and Dale Prest of Community Forests International who were key contributors to the visioning workshop that set the direction for this project. The team allowed our DIALOG team to focus on a holistic solution that worked to restore natural habitats and ecosystems, generate a surplus of clean energy and water and engage, educate and connect the community to the Hollidge Tract of the York Regional Forest.
York Region established a series of green design principles to guide the plans for the centre. The Region wanted to remove boundaries between the building and the forest, ensuring the building’s design reflected the site and its ecosystem to create an inspiring and enduring place of learning with a project 90-year lifecycle.