Helen Schuler Nature Centre Expansion + Renovation

Client Helen Schuler Nature Centre
Location Lethbridge | Alberta | Canada

The Helen Schuler Nature Centre is located in the Lethbridge river valley adjacent to the High Level Train Bridge within the nature reserve. The nature centre provides the community with a variety of interpretive programs that emphasize nature appreciation, understanding the surrounding natural habitat, and the importance of preserving this habitat for future generations to explore and enjoy. Constructed in 1982 with a small expansion in 1984, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre has served the community for 30 years. However, it was in need of significant investments to improve the way it delivers services to the community, to meet programming needs and to replace and upgrade the facility’s building envelope to improve energy efficiency. 

The expansion and renovation of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre targets LEED Gold certification. The expansion and renovation incorporates environmentally sustainable building systems including the design and construction of two separate green roofs. O2 was engaged within the multidisciplinary project team to coordinate and lead the design of two separate green roofs, and to create a sustainable landscape design for the project site. 

An intensive green roof incorporates a rooftop interpretive area to be used as an outdoor classroom or flexible programming space. This intensive green roof design incorporates a mix of native prairie and foothills grass and forb species while an extensive green roof incorporates a mix of native species and sedum. The landscape design is barrier free and incorporates many sustainable design features including rain gardens, bioswales, and native planting and grass species. Once completed, the renovation and expansion of the Helen Schuler Nature Centre will serve as an opportunity for the City of Lethbridge to showcase their commitment to sustainability and to the environment for generations to come.