Water will be the 21st century’s oil – a much sought-after but dwindling natural resource. The biggest difference: a world without oil is possible; a world without water is not.Scott Wolf, FAIA, Miller Hull Partner-in-Charge
The proposed Lions Gate Secondary Wastewater Treatment Plant simultaneously provides a needed upgrade to an essential service, improves marine water quality and contributes to development on Vancouver’s North Shore. It also changes the paradigm of how critical urban infrastructure can positively coexist with, and be an amenity for, the communities it serves.
Unusual for this type of heavy civil engineering project, the design team has worked together in a highly collaborative way – through the Integrated Design Process – with a large number of stakeholder groups including businesses, residents, technical experts, local government and First Nations to integrate project objectives with design. Recognizing that the site is bounded by distinctly different contexts on each side influences architectural and site design response presenting urban infrastructure as fabric rather than interruption to the public realm. Generous open and landscaped spaces provide a public face to the facility, integrate the plant within the surrounding community and employ public art and other site amenities help support educational goals.
What emerges is a facility that, when complete, will be resilient and future proof; belongs to the place; is secure but visually open to the community; has the potential to be a net producer of energy; and features meaningful public experiences that inspires dialog about sustainable building, wastewater treatment and environmental stewardship. And which models how thinking holistically about program, site context and opportunities for community integration enables these types of facilities to be more successfully designed and delivered.