This innovative, award-winning energy plant for the City of Vancouver recovers thermal energy from the sewage pump station to provide domestic hot water and space heating to the False Creek Neighbourhood including Olympic Village. Generous glazing and view portals on the building’s façade reveal the technology used in heat recovery.
The site for the False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility project is located under the Cambie Street Bridge, and constricted by the bridge piles and pile cap structure that could not be undermined during excavation.
The project was designed to respond to the previously marginal public space to create a new concept for integration of civic infrastructure and community amenity.
Beyond compliance with technical performance standards, the project sought to provide concrete expression to abstract ideas such as sustainable resource use, energy conservation and efficiency. These themes have been effectively expressed in our collaboration with Stephanie Robb to integrate public art to the overall design by transforming a set of five emission vent stacks into an evocative sculptural element, crowned at the top of each by fingernail-like LED light fixture, which is programmable to respond to the operating level / heat output of the facility. This work has had huge value in raising the profile of sustainable features of the project.
The energy utility is located adjacent to an established urban neighbourhood, and the integration of a sewage pump station and heat recovery plant thermal plant into the neighbourhood required an intensive process of public engagement to develop a design that responds to resident concerns while elevating the design of a public utility to a significant expression of public architecture. Led by Walter Francl, a key component to its success was public engagement that led to community members not only accepting the project, but became some of its strongest advocates.