The Devonian Botanic Garden is a lush oasis made up of manicured gardens, mixed woodland vegetation and an extensive nature trail system. Owned and governed by the University of Alberta, the Garden expects its annual number of visitors to grow from 40,000 to 250,000 following a significant expansion.

The centrepiece of this expansion will be the Manasc Isaac-designed Ecological Learning Centre (ELC), a stunning new education, research and visitor centre. It will broaden and transform the Garden’s role in the community by adding social spaces to the facility’s offerings. An embodiment of sustainable design, the ELC will be a catalyst that launches the Devonian Botanic Garden into an exciting future.

The building shape evokes a leaf, for both aesthetic and functional reasons. Its organic shape is important to the experience of the building. Its grand interior spaces unfurl like petals of a flower as visitors walk into the atrium. Outside, rainwater runs through the leaf’s “stem,” and collects in an adjacent pond that will be used to water portions of the Garden.

Einstein posited that if you “look deep into nature you will understand everything better.” The organic inspiration of the Ecological Learning Centre testifies to this.

Scope: Study
Completion: 2012
Size (m2): 5,370
Location: Devon, Alberta

Close