Centennial Beach Regional Park is located on the eastern side of the Point Roberts peninsula, an area of natural dunes extending along the shoreline of Boundary Bay. The north section of the park attracts birdwatchers and beachcombers, while the south section is dedicated to more active familyoriented pursuits. Located between the two, the new pavilion reflects this duality: open and welcoming to the south, sheltered and secluded to the north. The building is sited along an east-west axis, where a subtly sloping and terracing wood boardwalk guides visitors from an arrival plaza up to a new patio that is raised above the flood plain. To the left, the entry is defined by a series of program boxes arranged in sequence from private to public: storage, men’s and women’s washrooms, family change rooms and a café concession. The boxes are interspersed with glazed or open areas that afford glimpses between the two landscapes, and an expansive timber roof gathers it all together. The Pavilion takes a passive approach to environmental systems that typically account for high-energy demand. The environmental footprint is minimized by passive cooling and ventilation, solar hot water generation, bioswales, and highefficiency plumbing fixtures and mechanical equipment. The pavilion’s green roof is densely planted with native species, in compensation for the habitat lost beneath the footprint of the building. The glazing incorporates patterned abstractions of the native dune grass and integrates three types of bird-safe glazing; finally, the facility’s waste is composted on site, and will be used to grow food for the café.
The primary structure of the building comprises a grid of steel columns supporting a combination of steel channels and wide flange beams. Nail laminated 2x4 panels are slotted into the channels creating a shallow ceiling that is both structure and finish. The wide flange beams run above the steel channels, cantilevering at either end of the building and delineating the extent of the green roof. This composite structure brings a sense of lightness and agility to the building. Custom precast concrete panels welded to structural steel columns become both the lateral bracing system and interior wall finish, while a faceted and folded exterior pattern enhances the play of light and shadow across the façade. Finally, a thin band of clerestory windows wraps around the building, making the timber roof slab appear to float above the concrete walls. With its exposed wood soffit, the cantilevering patio roof both defines the view and connects visitors to the landscape beyond. This connection is enhanced by the wood surface of the boardwalk below — the whole experience contributing to a rich and rewarding sense of place. As a public park, Centennial Beach strives to offer something to all visitors whatever their age or interests. Both as an amenity and an artifact, the new pavilion has done much to enhance that experience.