The nautical center uses designs inspired by nature


The Center Nautique Baie-de-Valois, completed in 2021, replaces a building in decline with a green and clever design. This newly updated nautical center serves 4,000 community members in Pointe-Claire, Montreal.

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The plan stems from a need to adapt to the increased use of the parks in recent years. In doing so, the project meets the objectives of the municipalities on the island of Montreal.

Related: Green building design takes inspiration from the Amazon rainforest

The public space has a roof that mimics a tree canopy.

The Center Nautique Baie-de-Valois delivers on all fronts. After discussions with the community, the City of Pointe-Claire called on the design teams of PRISME and ADHOC Architectes to work together on the project to reclaim the coastline in the area.

The Center Nautique Baie-de-Valois with a large parking lot for the community.

As an existing park on the shores of Lake St. Louis, another goal was to increase accessibility and encourage use. The building replaces an old park chalet with a new space that supports public gatherings as well as the needs of citizens. It also caters to the park’s many water sports and activities.

An interior shot of the center, highlighting its tall windows and natural light.

The overall plan mirrors the surrounding landscape with a roof that resembles a canopy, exterior wood cladding with tree bark features, and a foundation that represents the rocky shoreline. The design also includes space to take in the views with plenty of boat storage below. In addition, the building offers offices and changing rooms. Accessibility continues to be a key part of the center’s update, as both indoor and outdoor spaces accommodate a range of citizens and visitors.

An abstract layout of the center interior.

Passive design elements provide the greatest solar gains. Designs such as an overhanging roof protect against harsh summer rays and allow solar heat to penetrate during the winter months.

A close view of the ash wood used throughout the public space.

Next, a large skylight in the white roof provides natural light and airflow. The white roof also reduces heat gain. Reclaimed ash wood, collected in the fight against the emerald ash borer, is visible throughout the ceiling. Locally sourced eastern white cedar is the exterior cladding. The team opted for cedar for its low maintenance and natural look.

Exterior of the nautical center with lights on at dusk.

In addition to energy-saving elements, the center uses systems to save water. Some of the rainwater from the roof is redirected to filtered areas around the landscape.

The new nautical center serves as a large public space while welcoming its visitors. Stunning natural light complements the ash wood. All in all, nothing is more welcoming than a space inspired by nature. The team listened to citizen feedback and in doing so delivered a great building.

+ PRISM, ADHOC Architects

Images by Raphael Thibodeau


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