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CaGBC Alberta: Donald Cameron Centre – LEED Gold

Saved from demolition because of the price tag of building new, Banff Centre’s Smith Hall has morphed into the beautiful new Donald Cameron Centre.

The need was simple: the Banff Centre’s executive and administrative functions needed more space, 13,600 square feet) to be exact.

The Banff Centre targeted the old Smith Hall, one of three original chalets built on the side of Tunnel Mountain in 1948, for demolition to make room for the new home for the administration. Construction costs, however, made the team rethink their plan of demolition and, instead, renovate the existing building.

It was a good decision. The renovation and expansion of the old facility has earned LEED Gold for, among other attributes:

  • reusing an existing building,
  • reusing the original stone foundation for landscaping,
  • using regional building materials and sustainable certified wood,
  • water and energy efficiency,
  • using recycled and low-emitting materials, and
  • installing operable windows.

A major challenge in redeveloping Smith Hall was its proximity to the new Kinnear Centre, only 45 metres away. It had been designed and positioned on the understanding that Smith Hall would be demolished – and Smith Hall’s original main floor elevation was too low compared with the Kinnear Centre.

Physically it was impossible to make the transition work unless we introduced a whole bunch of stairs and ramps,” explains Bruce Chapman, president of Target Project Management Inc. “We decided there was no other choice but to lift Smith Hall up three feet.”

That three-foot raise allowed the centre’s addition to be built on grade, eliminating the need for costly grade separation considerations. The significant undertaking required internal bracing and frame work while hydraulic jacks were used to lift the structure, according to Bird Construction.

Gibbs Gage Architects says the two-level addition on the south side of the existing Smith Hall clearly distinguishes the new from the old by taking a more contemporary approach to the design. That approach ensures the new Donald Cameron Centre complements the nearby Kinnear Centre, which also obtained LEED Gold certification in the new construction category.

Original article available here

Image courtesy of Doublespace Photography