Canada Agriculture & Food Museum – GRC+Baird Sampson Neuert Architects
Ottawa firm GRC Architects teamed up with Toronto Architects Baird Sampson Neuert to undertake some major renovations of Building 94 at the Experimental Farm. This project involved the adaptive reuse of Building 94 as a state of the art learning centre for the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Building 94, a ‘Recognized Federal Heritage Building’ was originally constructed in 1936-7 as a farm machinery building for the Dept. of Agriculture.
Sustainability was a key objective of the project and the adaptive reuse of the existing building and structure played a significant role in this. The original 1930s solid wood block floor was retained and refinished. Original materials were salvaged from new openings in order to patch damaged areas. Agri-fibre panelling was used extensively for new partitions and finishes.The reclaimed sorghum stalks used are a rapidly renewable resource left after the edible portion of the plant is harvested, and the removal of the stalks from the waste stream helps sequester carbon, making Kirei Board a carbon-negative material. Acoustic panels contain batts made from recycled post-industrial natural cotton fibres (up to 95%), and are 100% recyclable. Epoxy flooring used on the main exhibition floor contains 12% recycled glass chips.”
The renovated spaces provide new permanent exhibition spaces, communal lunch rooms, flat-floor concept multipurpose meeting hall, staff offices, and three learning labs. The ‘learning labs’ are activated child focused learning environments where the link between food and agriculture is experienced alongside a wide range of demonstration and hands-on agricultural activities, overlooking the main dairy barn. Interior design interventions celebrate the existing Engineering Research Building and its legacy as a place of ongoing experimentation, research and engineering that underpins modern-day agriculture.