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Hesquiaht Community Building Their Own School. Now That Is Sustainable

Hesquiaht Community building their own school. Now that is sustainable

Sustainable building to us, means four things – bringing skills to the community, minimizing the impact on the environment, lowering operating costs, and utilizing the local resources for construction.

Hesquiaht Community School is a great example. The 14,000 sq.ft facility, built in the remote community of Refuge Cove (access by air/water only), functions as a learning and community center, hosting community meetings, ceremonies and events. The community is UNESCO World Biosphere Site, which brings with it, a mandate to promote biological and economic diversity.

More than half of Hesquiaht’s members joined in to build the facility. In the process, they were trained in all aspects of construction – which has the added bonus of reducing the need to import personnel for maintenance and repairs.The local natural resources provided the regional aesthetic. Felled trees – salvaged and milled on site – were used for exterior cladding, columns, flooring, furniture and shelving.

Air is naturally vented through bands of clerestory windows. Operable windows enhance the users comfort, while the roof design helps draw the cool air into the building. As the earth provides a more constant temperature than the air above, heat is be generated by a geo-exchange loop located at the bottom of an on-site pond.

A great prototype of what successful community building looks like.

Architect of Record McFarland Marceau Architects

  Original Architect Marceau Evans Architects

Structural Enginee r  Equilibrium Consulting

Mechanical Engineer Cobalt Engineering

Energy Engineer Enersys Analytics

Electrical Engineer BLC Engineering

Landscape Architect Richard Buccino

General contractor Newhaven Construction Management

Photos Nick Westover, Marie-Odile Marceau, Leung Chow


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