Biodiversity Centre of Université de Montréal

Located on the Botanical garden’s site, the Biodiversity Centre is a joint project between the University of Montreal’s Arts and Science Faculty and the Institut de recherche en biologie végétale. This project declined in 2 key buildings, for a total surface of 5100 square meters, is connected by a glazed passageway that forms a central yard. The vegetation praises the biodiversity where the sustainable architecture is essential.

The “L” shape pavilion distributed on four levels, in continuation of the existing greenhouses, offers an exceptional place for the preservation and development of the Marie-Victorin herbarium, the Ouellet-Robert entomological collections, the Botanical garden mycological collections and those of the Insectarium.  About forty professors, researchers and students find the most convenient environment for their research and education, for the preservation and for the collections development.






Université de Montréal

Surface Area

5 100 m2






Bouthillette Parizeau


SDK et Associés


Groupe Séguin Lacasse


Marc Cramer, Alexi Hobbs,


Gold LEED Certification

Integration of the project into the Montreal Botanical Garden was handled masterfully, in terms of both the shape of the building and its placement, which made it possible to preserve existing elements with ecological value, such as red oaks and large cedar hedges, as well as create a courtyard affording a quality environment. The site was regenerated with a native xeriscape (ground and roof). There is very little impermeable surface, and rainwater management is incorporated: recovery, permeable surfaces and infiltration basin. Recovered rainwater is reused for the cooling pool in the courtyard and for toilets

The project includes laboratories and conservation areas requiring controlled humidity and temperature, yielding exemplary energy efficiency. In fact, achieving a performance of over 45% above the NECB (37% based on costs) is a challenge for any type of building. This was accomplished using a combination of technologies and the mechanical efficiency of the envelope. For example, the project includes a solar wall to preheat fresh air from a portion of the building envelope made of microperforated zinc. Despite the laboratories and conservation areas, the building has several rooms with windows that open to admit abundant natural light.

Despite the constraints due to the laboratories and conservation area, the Biodiversity Centre achieves optimal energy consumption by means of ingenious applications of mechanical infrastructures that reduce energy costs by 37%. The energy savings resulting from the installation of a passive solar wall, heat recovery from exhaust air, variable speed drives on HVAC equipment, optimized equipment performance, geothermal heating and an efficient density of lighting fixtures.

The Biodiversity Centre is located on a previously developed lot that has been decontaminated to restore outdoor spaces in their entirety. In order to encourage the use of alternative transport, no new parking spaces were added. Moreover, the building is located less than 630 meters from a subway station and within 400 m of several bus routes and a bike path. Fourteen parking spaces for bicycles were added, as well as a shower. The heat island effect is mitigated by the installation of a green roof and pale coloured impervious surfaces. Lastly, night lighting is designed to limit light pollution.


In addition to being native, the plants selected for the project are drought tolerant and do not require watering or an irrigation system. The rainwater-fed pool in the central garden helps cool the air naturally on hot days. Moreover, much of the rainwater from the roof is recovered for toilets and urinals, which are also low flow. When these two systems are combined, potable water consumption in the building is reduced by approximately 60% annually. The unrecovered rainwater percolates through the site, reducing the burden on the municipal system and allowing natural infiltration to groundwater.



MENTION – ICI Building Category (institutional, commercial, industrial) - Inovative Application, Trophées Innovation et développement durable - Contech 2012

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