Located in the heart of Vancouver, the VanDusen Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre is inspired by the organic forms of a native orchid.
Requiring extensive collaboration between the architect and the structural engineer, the project's most innovative feature is the dramatic free-form roof structure.
Appearing to float above the building's curved rammed earth walls, the roof form metaphorically represents undulating petals, flowing seamlessly into a central occulus and the surrounding landscape.
The design team pioneered a wood solution in the interests of economy, sustainability, innovation, and to meet tight time constraints imposed by a federal government stimulus funding programme.
While similarly complex building forms-like Spain's Guggenheim Bilbao Museum or the Music Experience Building in Seattle, Washington-have been achieved through the use of steel or concrete, this is believed to be the first example of panelized wood use for such a geometrically complex form.