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World Architecture Day: How do people and places impact global design decisions?

October 01, 2018

By Rachel Bannon-Godfrey

Design has the power to transform lives, if we are truly committed to improving the local community

Design draws inspiration from its context. The notion of “World Architecture” evokes a rich tapestry of design solutions responding to the culture, climate, and challenges of each place. And to save the planet, we must be inspired by the world.

When we talk about the planet, we think of climate change, global warming, and environmental impacts that seem far beyond our reach and scope as individuals. With issues of this scale and complexity, it can become difficult to tangibly connect the impact of our work on an individual project to forward progression at the global scale.

We became designers because we have an ability to solve problems, and we believe in the power of design to transform lives.

When we talk about the world, we think of people and places, cultures, and locations. We think of our family and friends in different countries. Thanks to social media and increasing access to travel options, the “world” seems both more exciting and more within reach today than ever before. 

We feel inspired when we learn of new design trends or solutions from other countries. Hold on to that inspiration. Our buildings and infrastructure take a toll on the planet, and therefore our work impacts the lives of people around the world. As design professionals, we’re in the best position to make a difference—incrementally.

California Military Department’s Consolidated Headquarters Complex.

At Stantec we design with community in mind

As a global company, we can, collectively, have an impact on the planet. We can use design to improve the lives of the people of the world. We became designers because we have an ability to solve problems, and we believe in the power of design to transform lives. Innovation is key.

Innovation comes from making new connections, knowledge sharing outside of typical boundaries. Collaboration of this magnitude is the heartbeat of our global team, and the results can be seen in our diverse portfolio from metropolitan cities to remote communities, and many airports in between. On World Architecture Day, I encourage everyone to take a moment to read about Stantec’s projects in countries, communities, and places you are not yet familiar with, or have not yet travelled to. We can influence quality of life on our planet by designing with the communities of the world in mind.

Here’s just a few examples of where Stantec is making a difference in communities around the world:

McMurdo Station Vehicle Equipment Operations Center (Antarctica)

We designed a large vehicle maintenance and material warehouse building that maintains place, fosters national pride, is reliable and innovative, conserves resources and promotes user safety while dealing with the challenges inherent to the location and climate conditions of Antarctica.

Evolv1 (Canada)

Evolv1, a multi-tenant commercial office building, is the first of its kind to meet the Canada Green Building Council’s rigorous new zero carbon standard. It demonstrates zero carbon design excellence, meets a defined threshold for thermal energy demand intensity, and utilizes onsite renewable energy systems capable of providing a minimum of 5 percent of building energy consumption.

Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital.

Cancer Centre at Guy's Hospital (England)

The new Cancer Centre at Guy’s, design in partnership with Rogers Stirk Harbor, creates uplifting, non-institutional healthcare environments that support the activities within by consolidating cancer treatment in one building, thus making the experience easier and less stressful for patients. It is the first cancer center in the UK to wholly locate its radiotherapy department above ground.

Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center (US)

The seven-story Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center houses all outpatient cancer treatment services in one location where the center’s team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, genetic counselors, social workers, and others work together to improve patient outcomes. The center, designed by William Rawn Associates Architects and Stantec’s healthcare architecture team, allows patients to have all their appointments in one area where clinical caregivers come to the patient. Amenities for patients and their families include a cafe, meditation space, a pharmacy, retail, resource center, and music/art therapy. The project is targeting LEED Silver. 

University of Northern British Columbia’s Wood Innovation Research Laboratory (Canada)

UNBC’s Wood Innovation Research Laboratory is the first Passive House certified industrial and higher education building in North America—a particularly impressive feat due to the cold climate in Prince George, the high spaces, and the unique building usage as a high-tech wood lab with CNC machines and experimental equipment. The facility features a wood structure and its expression of the building is inspired by passive design principles and wood innovation.

California Military Department’s Consolidated Headquarters Complex (US)

The CHQC is one of the first large scale new Zero Net Energy (ZNE) projects that will be implemented by the State of California after the issuance of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Executive Order B-18-12 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency in California. The project is targeting LEED Gold certification and will be constructed to achieve a variety of sustainable goals to reduce environmental impact, optimize performance, lower energy and operating costs, conserve resources, and increase occupant satisfaction and productivity.

City of Calgary Compost Facility. 

City of Calgary’s Compost Facility (Canada)

The City of Calgary vows to divert 80 percent of landfill waste by 2020 and the Compost Facility is a step in the right direction. It’s the first commercial building in Alberta registered under LEED v4, which demands an integrative process. The design-build-operate delivery model means all team members—the design team, developers, operators, and the city—work together from the outset. Public education is also part of the program, with a classroom looking into the composting facility and an outdoor learning garden.

  • Rachel Bannon-Godfrey

    As part of the Corporate Sustainability team, Rachel leads our global social and environmental sustainability integration. Applying the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal framework, she helps our global experts become leaders in climate solutions.

    Contact Rachel
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