Discovery Center - Iles de Boucherville National Park

Prize Winner in Architectural Design / Other Architecture
Firm Location, Canada
CompanySmith Vigeant Architectes Inc.
Lead DesignerDaniel Smith
Design TeamStéphan Vigeant, Cindy Neveu, Anik Malderis, Mariana Segui, Maxime Varin

The Discovery and Visitor Center of Îles-de- Boucherville National Park is the main welcome point for park visitors and a showcase building for Quebec’s national parks network. It is a welcoming place for social interaction and nature discovery. The anticipated building volume was deliberately divided into two parts, which creates an open public space and frames the central axis of circulation that leads to the water. This junction is a hub for both discovery activities and outdoor equipment rentals. The architecture reflects and respects the surrounding environment. The buildings undulated edges were designed to minimize tree cutting, and encourage visitors to wander around and progressively discover the space. The fluid motion is accentuated by a textured veil: a succession of wooden slats overlapping the siding all around the building. This cladding also acts as a light filter and produces shadows dancing across the ground, reminding of the willows’ foliage. Inside, a curvy channel-like recess on the ceiling and a skylight bring in natural light and enhances natural ventilation. The architectural composition is all tied-in together by a glass curtain wall. Offering direct views of the parks from the inside and reflecting nature on the tainted glass outside.