The Amherst RCMP Detachment is a 1,250m2 building on the Tantramar Marshes. The Detachment facility consists of a mix of administrative / office spaces and special purpose spaces including a cell detainment area.
The owner’s intent for this project was to develop a new prototype for the RCMP district detachment. This model was to respond to a renewed RCMP mandate to create a productive and supportive work environment internally while reaching out externally towards a community-based policing policy.
Sustainable design principles, security issues, flexibility and adaptability were also goals established for this project.
Some of the project challenges included site visibility, openness vs security and privacy issues, inviting and modern vs integrity and tradition.
The principal design approach espoused by the client and shared by the multi-disciplinary team was an Integrated Design Approach in which every part is analyzed and developed with the participation of all project team members in parallel and with full consideration to the whole building.
Project Philosophy (Filter) Reports on five distinct filters including Supportive Work Environment, Sustainability, Efficient Communications, and Energy Efficiency were produced at each stage of the design. The resulting design features a plan organized into three functionally distinct areas: Office/administration, Support Services, and Detention. Differing requirements for public and private areas result in a double loaded corridor system to accommodate public functions at the front south side and private staff functions to the rear (north) corridor. Net to Gross was minimized and created a very compact and efficient design.
The exterior use of native stone, brick and wood, and articulated massing reflect the plan organization, secure and open areas. Optimal glazed openings, exterior shading devices and canopies are strategically arranged to introduce natural light and fresh air.
The requirement to locate the mechanical system in the attic resulted in creating a raised shed roof, which was further extruded to create a clerestory window opening over the expanded interior team work area including the central Main Work Station.
A lunch area with views over the Tantramar marsh, a separate garage, flexible open space office planning, multi-purpose and community policing rooms are further features of this project.
The Sustainable Design Strategy was integral to the overall design process. The PWGSC initiatives were set out in general and were monitored using the Filter process and included attention to indoor air quality, acoustics, local and green materials selection, and an aggressive energy consumption target (850 MJ/m2/yr).
The daylighting strategy included automatic light sensing dimming controls, strategic glazing placement, exterior shade devices, canopies and clerestory lites. Energy initiatives included natural cooling, radiant in-floor heating, optimized air changes based on occupancy, optimum wall and roof insulation, low-flow plumbing fixtures, space economies, strategic and native landscaping. Local materials such as native sandstone and wood siding were selected. Green materials such as the predominant use of linoleum flooring were selected. A wind turbine provides up to 60% of the building’s power requirements.
The sustainable design approach required each discipline to consider the possible synergistic benefits to be realized when integrated with the others.
One example is the architectural exterior shading devices, which required structural support, reduced the mechanical cooling loads, electrical controls, and provided solar shading. All disciplines worked collectively to achieve the combined benefits of these sustainable strategies.
The result is a design, which surpasses the model energy targets and results in a healthy, productive work environment.