Biosphere Sustainability Centre Gananoque

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Gananoque Building, Ontario, Canada

Biosphere Sustainability Centre Canada design by Paul Raff Studio: North America Architecture Information

3 Mar 2010

Gananoque Development

Architect Paul Raff Unveils Groundbreaking Green Design Vision At Schulich School Of Business

Design: Paul Raff Studio

Toronto, March 3rd, 2010 – At the 2010 GreenEdge conference, Paul Raff will present his design vision for the new Biosphere Sustainability Centre in Gananoque, Ontario that takes a comprehensive approach to cultural, social, economic and ecological sustainability.

Biosphere Sustainability Centre Gananoque Biosphere Sustainability Centre Ontario
images of Biosphere Sustainability Centre Gananoque proposal

On Saturday, March 6, 2010, at York University’s Schulich School of Business, architect Paul Raff will discuss his ground-breaking, multi-pronged design strategy for the Biosphere Sustainability Centre (BSC), a large-scale mixed-use facility in Gananoque, Ontario. The lecture will take place as part of the GreenEdge Conference at the Schulich School of Business Auditorium in Toronto, at 1pm. Raff has been selected to speak as part of the conference’s New Business segment, which will focus on how new technologies are changing design practices.

Paul Raff Studio has created a world-leading approach to sustainability in this design to adaptively reuse an 11,500 m2 brownfield site near the Thousand Islands in Gananoque. The BSC design includes two green roofs with walk-out garden, a walk-through biowall that cleans and recycles the air, and sculptural sun shades alongside the building.

The BSC’s most striking feature is an atmospheric canopy that hovers above the building and performs multiple functions: it collects sunlight from solar panels, provides shade, reflects the surrounding landscape, and channels rainwater for collection at the corner of the building, where it also transforms into a spectacular icicle sculpture in the winter months.

“The design is unique in that is has a zero-carbon footprint target, but also in that it visibly demonstrates green architecture” says Raff. “It is exemplary of how we’re combining sustainability and artistry in architecture.”

“This project showcases the best of Canada.” says Don Ross, Executive Director of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere, “It will result in significant economic development for Eastern Ontario by attracting tourists and scholars to a unique region recognized with three international designations; UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Geographic Geo-Tourism Destination.”

From September 2009, Paul Raff Studio has worked with the Committee for Sustainable Community Development which includes representatives of Parks Canada, the Thousand Islands Playhouse, and the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve-a UNESCO world heritage site which includes the Thousand Islands. Together, they coordinated the Centre’s vision, which will ensure that the building’s design plays a large role in generating positive new cultural, social, economic, and environmental activities and awareness for the entire region.

The design includes exhibition and conference facilities, artisan studios, market retail, and office space. The building’s programming is integral within its design, which demonstrates to users and visitors how renewable energy technologies including earth, water, solar, wind and biomass can provide clean heating, cooling, electricity and waste management. Furthermore, the centre will serve as an education resource with a positive long-term impact on planning, living and working in the region.

Biosphere Sustainability Centre, Gananoque, Ontario, Canada : Paul Raff Studio

Paul Raff Studio

Location: Gananoque, Ontario, Canada

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The First Annual GreenEdge Conference on Business and Sustainability takes place on Saturday, March 6th at York University’s Schulich School of Business Auditorium, 4700 Keele Street in Toronto from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for Students, $35 for professionals and include breakfast, lunch, a full day of speakers and presentations on renewable energy and a networking session. More information and tickets are available online at

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Practice Information

Paul Raff is an architect and director of Paul Raff Studio based in Toronto. Raff’s designs have been extensively published internationally including in Wallpaper*, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and have been the subject of four television documentaries.

He is a frequent guest professor and lecturer at leading universities. Paul Raff Studio’s 2009 awards include the R.A.I.C. Allied Arts Medal, O.A.A Award of Excellence and the IIDEX Best of Canada.

Paul Raff Studio has been in practice as a creative constituency since 1992, and became an incorporated architecture firm in 2003. The Studio employs experts in architecture, development strategy, multi-media, landscape, sustainable design innovation and interior design.

Based in Toronto, the Studio assists local and international clients to create projects where art becomes life.

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