Marking the entrance to the City of Saint-Hyacinthe is the new Complexe Synergia: a prestigious, six-storey office building with a strong and refined signature, defined by its innovative, exposed wooden building structure. The Groupe Robin project hosts the developer-builder’s own offices and reflects the client’s dynamic nature with this visible structure and significant fenestration: a contemporary statement reflective of the group’s new generation of managers.
Showcasing the boreal forest’s stunning black spruce, the 72,000-sq.-ft. complex places wood at its very heart, with not a single metal beam supporting it. It is the first non-residential project in Canada with an all-laminated wood structure using a chevron post-and-beam bracing system and laminated cross-laminated timber (CLT) stairwells and elevator shafts.
Wood was the ideal material for this project: light, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, noble, warm and highly innovative. It also meshed with the genius loci-inspired architectural concept. The intent was to showcase this local material as part of a modern building, uniting tradition and innovation, Quebec roots and the future. Wood is visible inside as much as outside, in the finishes and the structure, recounting the history of the forest and the classic Canadian log cabin. It also harmonizes with its context, its wheat tones recalling the rural roots of Saint-Hyacinthe, while its black aluminium panels, concrete and glass address the dynamic aspect of major motorway movements nearby.
The result is a pared-down, organic look that gives free rein to architectural creativity. Its raw, exposed concrete surfaces seem to emerge from the ground, blending with the building’s immediate environment in a statement of reverence for the region’s agricultural past and present. The exposed wooden structure is wrapped in a curtain wall with windows over most of the surface to maximize natural light, which accordingly reaches more than 80% of the indoor workspaces. The complex sets the tone in an area with little urban structure.
The project was carried out in collaboration with Nordic Structures using engineered spruce, pine and fir (90% black spruce) that respect Forest Stewardship Council standards, sourced from Chantiers Chibougamau.
This LEED-Silver-certified project is an example of both Groupe Robin and Lemay’s commitment to sustainable development and occupant well-being. It was built according to stringent environmental standards using local materials, and it boasts the latest in energy-efficient technologies with its solar wall and a heat-recovery function that preheats the air entering the ventilation system. Digital controls and sensors are used to measure the CO2 level and adapt ventilation levels to building occupancy, while a system of heat pumps on a mixed water loop recovers heat rejected by the internal zones to heat the external zones. The building also features electric vehicle-charging stations, plumbing devices that reduce water consumption, high-performance windows, drought-resistant landscaping, a large rooftop terrasse, bike racks and employee showers.
Lemay’s transdisciplinary team of experts in architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning collaborated to produce this unique, forward-thinking and community-enhancing project.