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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute, Toronto, Canada

State-of-the-art training centre balances passive and active technologies
This project, completed in January 2007, has become the international insignia of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute and represents their commitment to their students and appreciation of their corporate role as mentor of ecological literacy. The FESTI applies the lessons of ecological and sustainable responsibility in a unique architectural language. This project illustrates that, even at a small scale of building, architecture is a unique vehicle for large scale improvement within the current world crisis.

Dwayne Macintosh, Deputy Fire Chief at FESTI. commented that; “With the ever changing world and greater consideration being given to the environment, the fact that FESTI is a LEED building helps tremendously with our marketing. In addition, the way in which it is presented is always something that makes an impression on people. The facility has an open, welcoming and modern feel to it which is not normally found in a fire training facility. Both of these aspects continue to wow people when they visit FESTI for the first time.”

The interface of the public rooms with the private rooms is defined by a strong, figurative and literal wall that mitigates between the rigid geometry of the private spaces and the exuberant public spaces. The clarity of the plan and the complexity of the section create volumetric experiences that are dynamic and varied, as are the young and athletic students. Careful consideration was given to the design of the massing, exterior finishes and the lighting sources of the elements for day or night response, given the LEED Silver compliance and the location of the project within an airport, adjacent to a runway and visible from the sky during take-off and landing.

Transparency, permeability and solidity are explored for both practical and aesthetic purposes. The integration of solar shading, a vegetated roof, a thermal solar wall, an integrated heat recovery system using the mass of the concrete and natural ventilation features are identifiable architectural responses to responsible building practices.
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