Curtiss All Ranks Kitchen and Dining Facility Achieves LEED Silver Certification / by ZAS ARCHITECTS


Curtiss All Ranks Kitchen and Dining Facility is one of two new kitchen and dining facilities commissioned by the Department of National Defence for the Canadian Forces Base in Borden.

Built to replace four aging and inadequate dining facilities that dated back to the 1950s these replacement facilities are strategically placed on a pedestrian focused campus. The Curtiss facility is focused on providing a pleasant, efficient and enduring building with plenty of natural light and optimized interior traffic flows. 

The exterior forms were kept deliberately orthogonal, streamlined and understated in order to produce an elegant, timeless building which fits in with the existing built environment at the base. As you enter, the aesthetic changes and you are reminded of the history of the pine forests that once dominated the landscape in the form of the dramatic glue-laminated curved columns and beams.

The interior design focuses on achieving a pleasant, easily maintained space optimized for clear and instinctive wayfinding – achieved through use of form, material and colour. While military facilities are often associated with drab utilitarian complexes, the Curtiss Kitchen and Dining Facility reflects a shifting direction in Canada’s military architecture, one that is more humane and rewarding for our service men and women.

Sustainable Features Include:

Sustainable Site - To preserve soil and prevent siltation of watercourse erosion and sedimentation control, the following was preserved: natural vegetation, seeding, mulching, geotextiles, silt fences, drainage swales and sediment basins. The application of a white roof reduces urban heat island effect. The design supports this additionally through a reduction in vehicle parking and increased presence of bike racks and showers.

Low Carbon Building Materials - Using a system of columns with dramatic oblique arches to support the roof, glulam columns branch out from bases in graceful, tree-like structures. About 94% of all wood-based materials in the project are Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified. Leveraging the thermal properties of wood, along with its

ability to withstand high humidity, allowed a large number of roof members to extend beyond the building envelope to support the exterior perimeter canopy. This feature gives the design a sense of natural continuity, reinforcing the link between interior and exterior spaces established by the floor to ceiling glass curtain walls in the main dining areas. Additionally the acoustic properties of the exposed wood offers the much-needed sound dampening in a large, open space with periods of high occupancy and elevated noise levels.

Water Efficiency -The design of stormwater infiltration and filtering uses bio-swales and infiltration galleries as well as low flow fixtures, to help the project achieve water use reduction of 68% over baseline fixture performance requirements.

Energy Performance of systems -The kitchen and preparation area is equipped with the latest kitchen and cooking equipment. This allows huge savings in hot water and other energy-intensive processes. It is also one of the first in Canada to use European state of the art waste-disposal vacuum system that is automated and allows the elimination of cross circulation of food and waste. The facility has achieved a 27% reduction in direct energy costs.

Construction Waste Management - An aggressive construction waste management strategy allowed for 90% of wood, metals, concrete, masonry, and asphalt to be diverted from the landfill. Approximately 17.25% and 7.09% of construction materials contained recycled content (post-consumer plus 0.5 pre-consumer, in aggregate). Furthermore, 25.69% of construction materials are regionally manufactured and extracted.

Waste Reduction - One of the first facilities in Canada to use this state of the art automated waste-disposal vacuum system, which allows the elimination of cross-circulation of food and waste. Soldiers clean their trays and the waste is funneled through pipes to a giant composter that holds 10,000 litres and is emptied twice a month.

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